NCAA Football News
After a questionable performance against North Carolina, Heisman hopeful Jadeveon Clowney looks to rebound against the Georgia Bulldogs.
Clowney was criticized for taking plays off against the Heels and his conditioning was a topic of conversation after the game.
Will he rebound with a big performance against the Georgia offense? Will Murray and the Bulldogs rebound themselves as they look to avenge their loss to the Clemson Tigers?
Watch the CFB team break down Week 2's most intriguing matchup.
Highlights courtesy of xosdigital.com.
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Last week's nonconference games will be tough to top, but here are predictions for college football's biggest nonconference clashes in Week 2.
Clemson took down Georgia in a thriller of a battle of AP Top 10 teams, and LSU outlasted TCU in another game.
Georgia will now host South Carolina, and another loss would virtually eliminate any chance the Bulldogs have of going to Pasadena.
This week's schedule doesn't have any nonconference games of that magnitude, but there are important games for some top teams.
Here are predictions for how the top nonconference games of Week 2 will play out.
No. 2 Oregon at Virginia
This has the makings of a blowout, but Virginia will benefit from having home-field advantage. Making Oregon travel from the Eugene to Charlottesville could keep the Cavaliers in the game early on.
However, a long plane ride isn't going to keep this game close.
Virginia had to rally in the final minutes to escape with a 19-16 home victory over BYU. Oregon, on the other hand, put its game out of reach within minutes of the opening kickoff on its way to a 66-3 victory over Nicholls State.
The Ducks have two Heisman contenders, quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back De'Anthony Thomas. Mariota threw for 234 yards and a touchdown, and he added 113 yards and two scores on five carries. Thomas rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries.
Oregon set a school record with 772 total yards and averaged nearly 11 yards per play. The Ducks ran for 500 yards and did not turn the ball over.
Virginia will need big performances out of key players. Running back Kevin Parks has three games in his career with at least 100 yards, and he's going to have to be dominant on the ground. He needs to be effective enough to keep Virginia's offense on the field and Oregon's offense on the sidelines.
Sophomore quarterback David Watford is going to need to take care of the ball. He didn't throw for many yards against BYU and threw an interception.
That's not going to get the job done in this game.
Oregon is too deep for Virginia to handle. The starters will put up points in a hurry, and the second team will add on to the lead. Coach Mark Helfrich is running the same offense that Chip Kelly ran, so expect another blowout.
Prediction: Oregon 56, Virginia 10
No. 12 Florida at Miami (FL)
At first glance, this doesn't look like a great matchup. However, Miami has the talent to hang with Florida.
The Gators slowly put away Toledo over the weekend, and their performance was underwhelming enough to have them drop two spots in the AP Poll. The Hurricanes had an easier time with Florida Atlantic and won 34-6.
Florida's offense didn't look ready to go in the opener, and it could cost the Gators in this game. Junior Jeff Driskel threw for 153 yards and a touchdown, but the Gators did their damage on the ground. Junior Mack Brown led the way with 112 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries.
Although the offense was less than impressive, the defense shut down a potent Toledo offense. The Rockets were only able to gain 205 yards and threw an interception, which led to a Florida touchdown.
Miami is led by running back Duke Johnson. The sophomore ran for 186 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in the opener. He ran for 947 yards and 10 scores on 139 attempts last season, which was an average of 6.8 yards per carry.
Johnson is an explosive player who can lead his team to a victory.
Florida had a mediocre performance in the opener, but it was only one game. The Gators had a close opener against Bowling Green last season and beat Johnny Manziel the next week.
Johnson will keep the Hurricanes in the game. There's just not enough around him in order to pull off the upset.
Prediction: Florida 21, Miami (FL) 17
No. 14 Notre Dame at No. 17 Michigan
Notre Dame and Michigan won't be on each other's schedule after next season, so fans better enjoy this game.
The Fighting Irish won 13-6 last season, but this will be a much different game. Notre Dame lost key pieces from last year, and Michigan will also look different.
Senior Tommy Rees looked good against Temple as he threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-6 victory. Junior DaVaris Daniels had a big day, catching three passes for 69 yards and two scores.
Last season, the defense was dominant. Temple was able to gain 362 yards on Notre Dame. That will be the unit to watch against Michigan.
The Wolverines looked good against Central Michigan in a 59-9 blowout. They have to replace three offensive linemen, but it wasn't an issue against the Chippewas.
Junior Devin Gardner has to replace Denard Robinson, but he didn't look great in the opener. He went 10-of-15 for 162 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He added 52 rushing yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.
Michigan didn't have anyone have a spectacular game. Instead, the Wolverines shared the football. Three different players had at least 50 rushing yards and one touchdown, and four players had at least 40 receiving yards.
The Wolverines didn't punt until their final possession, but they threw three interceptions. They can't make that many mistakes against the Fighting Irish and expect to win.
Michigan is playing at home and has a more dynamic offense. Rees looked good against Temple, but Michigan is a better team and will pressure him.
Prediction: Michigan 28, Notre Dame 14
*All information is courtesy of ESPN.com
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The first Associated Press college football Top 25 poll of the regular season came out Tuesday, and the biggest matchups of the season's first weekend took the forefront in shaking up the rankings.
Most of the preseason Top 25 stayed away from danger by avoiding the upset, but a couple of squads weren't as lucky and saw their rank plummet—or fall off the board entirely.
Let's take a look at the biggest changes from the Week 2 AP poll.
Week 2 Associated Press Top 25 (via ESPN)Rank School Record Votes 1 Alabama 1-0 1,497 2 Oregon 1-0 1,355 3 Ohio State 1-0 1,330 4 Clemson 1-0 1,304 5 Stanford 1-0 1,277 6 South Carolina 1-0 1,181 7 Texas A&M 1-0 1,085 8 Louisville 1-0 1,073 9 LSU 1-0 971 10 Florida State 1-0 953 11 Georgia 0-1 894 12 Florida 1-0 875 13 Oklahoma State 1-0 780 14 Notre Dame 1-0 707 15 Texas 1-0 674 16 Oklahoma 1-0 612 17 Michigan 1-0 583 18 UCLA 1-0 387 19 Northwestern 1-0 320 20 Washington 1-0 315 21 Wisconsin 1-0 287 22 Nebraska 1-0 219 23 Baylor 1-0 150 24 TCU 0-1 148 25 USC 1-0 135
- Also received votes: Miami (FL) 127, Ole Miss 50, Arizona State 48, Michigan State 42, Northern Illinois 27, Cincinnati 27, Fresno State 22, Virginia Tech 12, Bowling Green 9, Georgia Tech 8, Arizona 6, Penn State 4, Boise State 3, Virginia 2, Arkansas 1
No. 4 Clemson Tigers (No. 8 Last Week)
"Clemsoning" may not be dead just yet—there's a remainder of the season to prove that—but the Tigers' 38-35 win over then-No. 5 Georgia proved they're at least on the short list of national title contenders and that the Bulldogs are not.
Tajh Boyd validated his Heisman hype with his 18-of-30 performance with 270 yards and three scores—no interceptions—that featured his offense simply showing command over the Bulldogs' inexperienced secondary all game long.
Dabo Swinney's defense may need some work—Georgia held a 545-467 advantage in total yards. But as long as Boyd stays hot and Sammy Watkins keeps going beast mode, the Tigers should be fine with No. 10 Florida State and No. 6 South Carolina as their only two ranked foes remaining.
No. 9 LSU Tigers (No. 12 Last Week)
Les Miles and the LSU Tigers apparently felt disrespected by their top-10 snubbing in the preseason poll, as they went into a neutral site at Cowboys Stadium and defeated the home-state TCU Horned Frogs 37-27.
After losing eight defensive players to the draft, the Tigers may not have made a huge statement by letting up 27 points but still left Miles impressed, according to the AP's post-game report.
"They looked like an LSU defense to me," Miles said to the AP. "They flew around."
If they can fly around anything like the 2012 unit, things should be just fine down in the Bayou.
No. 20 Washington Huskies (Unranked Last Week)
After only picking up 17 total votes in the preseason poll, Washington made a statement over then-No. 19 Boise State in a 38-6 victory that proved this team's resurgence is finally underway.
Voters clearly noticed, as they not only knocked the Broncos off the board completely but also skyrocketed the Huskies to No. 20. They skipped over USC, Nebraska, Wisconsin and more teams with the win.
Senior Keith Price backed up the offseason hype with a massive performance—23-of-31, 324 yards, two touchdowns—and they racked up over 250 yards on the ground. Add that to no touchdowns given up, and the Huskies had themselves a day.
No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs (No. 5 Last Week)
Like LSU, the Georgia Bulldogs had the difficult challenge of replacing a host of defensive stars who are now playing on Sundays. And it's safe to say Mark Richt has a bit more work to do.
Clemson's Boyd tore up the Bulldog secondary and had Aaron Murray trying to play catch-up throughout the second half. It's obvious that Georgia's defense, which is starting three freshmen after seeing the likes of John Jenkins, Bacarri Rambo and Jarvis Jones (among others) head to the NFL, has some serious work to do.
Add the ACL injury to star wideout Malcolm Mitchell and a huge game this weekend against sixth-ranked South Carolina, and Bulldog fans should be very concerned.
I'm all for one-loss SEC teams making it to a national championship over any undefeated team from another conference, but lose at home to the Gamecocks and Georgia's BCS title hopes are completely vanished.
No. 24 TCU Horned Frogs (No. 20 Last Week)
TCU has plenty more chances to pick up quality wins now that its in the Big 12, but the Horned Frogs wasted a huge opportunity to knock off one of the SEC's elite in Saturday's loss to LSU.
The new-look Tigers offense—led by recent hire Cam Cameron—couldn't be stopped by the Horned Frogs as Zach Mettenberger threw for 251 yards and one late touchdown to seal the game.
TCU stayed in it throughout by making some big plays and keeping the score close, but Miles' squad put together drive after drive of a methodical and balanced game plan, and it made the difference.
Boise State Broncos (No. 19 Last Week)
The Boise State Broncos fell completely out of the Top 25 in Week 2's rankings after getting clobbered by Washington 38-6 in their road opener.
The Broncos were outgained 592-346 on the night, as they were unsuccessful in turning decent drives into scoring opportunities throughout the entire game. Two field goals from Dan Goodale would be the only dent Boise State would make on a Husky-dominated scoreboard.
Once a program that prided itself on undefeated seasons and big-time BCS performances, Boise State is now simply hoping to regain its footing as the team plays four of their next six at home—including two straight.
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Penn State escaped MetLife Stadium last week with a 23-17 win over Syracuse, while Eastern Michigan came from behind in the fourth quarter to beat Howard, 34-24.
The two 1-0 squads will match up this Saturday after taking 2012 off. In 2011 when the two met, Penn State was still embedded in a quarterback battle between Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin. The two of them combined for four touchdowns en route to a 34-6 win over the Eagles.
Eastern Michigan is coming off of a 2-10 season and would love to upset the Nittany Lions in their home stadium, marking the biggest win in program history. Penn State will look to this game as a primer game before the tough stretch of their schedule. It's imperative that they don't get caught overlooking this opponent.
Time: Noon EST
Place: Beaver Stadium, State College, Pa.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: Penn State Network Affiliates
Spread: Penn State opened as a 27-point favorite, but the line has moved down to 23, meaning early money has been on the Eagles, per VegasInsider.com.
The USC Trojans enter their first conference game on Saturday, a tilt with the Washington State Cougars. Having beaten the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in their season opener, USC has gained some confidence and will go into their home opener looking to extend their record to 2-0.
But the Cougars—as demonstrated in last week's match against the Auburn Tigers—won't concede a win to the Trojans easily. It's early, but they look more competitive than they did in last season's 3-9 effort, though they might not be ready just yet to upend the Trojans.
Before we get into this matchup, let's cover the bases:
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. PT
PLACE: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
TV: Fox Sports 1
RADIO: 710 ESPN
Spread: USC (-15)
Suppose that you won a free trip to see any Week 2 college football game. Naturally, you'd want to go to the biggest game featuring the best teams.
But have you considered the impact of great tailgating on your choice? After all, tailgating is a key part of the overall college football experience.
Game day at Ole Miss wouldn't be as special without the thousands of fans living it up in The Grove. And who could gain the full LSU experience without picking up some Cajun food on his or her way to Death Valley?
So, where should you spend your pregame hours Week 2?
If college football’s Week 2 slate of games were a car, it would be a 1997 Toyota Corolla.
There are highlights, certainly, like the power windows (Georgia-South Carolina), the sunroof that amazingly still functions (Notre Dame-Michigan) and the impressive spoiler you attached yourself because of excessive peer pressure (Florida-Miami).
Other than that, however, it lacks meaningful depth. Yes, Texas-BYU, your objection has been noted, and you can be the anti-lock brakes for this exercise.
But Las Vegas serves as the ultimate equalizer in situations such as these, providing point spreads of all shapes and sizes for these games. It's clear that Vegas is already on its game. The favorite covered 38 games in Week 1, while the underdog covered in 37. Not bad, Vegas. Not bad.
In the case of the updated AP Top 25 and Week 2 matchups, many of these point spreads are monstrous.
No matter, let's pick some winners.
Overall Record Against the Spread Entering Week 2: 13-7
When Boise State head coach Chris Petersen looked up at the scoreboard at Washington’s Husky Stadium last Saturday night and saw that ugly, lopsided final tally of 38-6 in favor of the opposition, feelings of frustration, disappointment and embarrassment must have naturally set in.
After the coach dealt with his players and staff, finished with his media obligations that night in Seattle and finally had a moment to himself to sit and reflect back on the game, he likely recalled all the missed tackles, the missed assignments and missed chances his team had in the blowout defeat. You have to wonder, though, if the normally positive-minded Petersen also dealt with some other, more troublesome thoughts and tougher “big picture” questions as well.
Is this is it?
Is the run over?
Is this finally the end of Boise State’s time as college football’s most talked-about mid-major program?
Are the days of being the sport’s darling dark horse done?
Admittedly, one rough season-opennig performance should never be considered a sign of demise for a program. 20 other FBS teams from non-BCS conferences lost to a BCS opponent in Week 1, and it’s highly doubtful that any of their coaches are asking themselves those types of doom and gloom questions right now. However, the Broncos are in a unique situation that simply can’t be compared to others.
This is a program that has managed to put together an incredible run of consistent success since Petersen took over back in 2006. The numbers during his tenure speak for themselves: 84 total victories (an average of 12 wins per season), five conference championships and five bowl wins. His current .903 winning percentage is still better than that of any active head coach on the FBS level.
Unfortunately, getting handled by the Huskies is just the latest sign of slippage for Petersen’s squad.
At the time, last year’s season-opening loss to Michigan State seemed like an aberration, mainly due to the fact that Boise State had beaten all five of the BCS teams that they had played in the four previous seasons (Oregon in 2008 and 2009, Virginia Tech in 2010,Georgia and Arizona State in 2011). Now, though, you have to wonder if it was the start of a troubling trend.
Thus is life for a program whose one nationally notable marquee game is its season-opener. When you perform well on the big stage and beat a big-name opponent, you get soaked in accolades. But when you lose, you have to deal with the questions and criticisms.
That’s what’s now left following the loss to Washington: questions.
The sustained success, the many wins, the SportsCenter stories and the BCS bowl trophies are all tremendous accomplishments—but they are also all in the past. Just like all sports, college football is a win-now business. The focus is on what you're going to do next Saturday—not what you did five years ago.
Go ask Virginia Tech fans about what they care about more: Frank Beamer’s eight straight double-digit win seasons from 2004 to 2011 or the current struggling state of the Hokies program? Then go ask Texas fans the same question about Mack Brown. Or go ask USC or Miami fans about how quickly a powerhouse program’s fortunes can change.
History tells us that when it comes to college football, it’s easy to go from being a headline maker to yesterday’s news rather quickly.
After three straight seasons, which all resulted in trips to the lightly-watched Las Vegas Bowl instead of a big-time BCS bowl destination, it’s at least fair to wonder if Boise State’s best days are in the rearview mirror.
With the Broncos making the decision to decline a lucrative contract to join the Big East (now called the American Athletic Conference) in order to stay put in the Mountain West, you have to wonder what the future holds for them, as college football prepares for a major landscape-altering shift into a playoff era.
Still, even for a school in a so-called lesser conference, you can’t help but appreciate what the Broncos have been able to accomplish under Petersen’s watch. It’s utterly remarkable. Unfortunately, though, every wave of success—no matter how high it reaches—will eventually break.
It’s only a question of when it will happen—not if.
Seven straight double-digit win seasons is supremely impressive. But as it stands right now, pushing that streak to eight looks like it’s going to be a formidable challenge. You can easily make the argument that the Broncos have six more losable games left on their schedule against capable opponents, such as Fresno State, Utah State, Nevada, BYU, Wyoming and San Diego State.
A seven- or eight-win season in 2013 could serve as a turning point for the program, and not in a good way. That means a loss of momentum, a loss of national buzz—and most importantly, a loss of credibility.
There’s a good chunk of the college football crowd, including pretty much every SEC fan I've ever talked to, who have never taken the Broncos seriously from the start. They’re the naysayers who have labeled Boise State as just a glorified junior college with an overrated team, which plays on a silly blue field. Still, there’s also a substantial number of believers who hopped on the bandwagon and bought into the hype after the memorable upset victory over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
That was the big statement win that set the wave of success in motion.
Now, though, even those supporters and bandwagon riders—and even the old Boise State faithful, who loved the team before it became a nationally recognizable name—have to see the signs of weakness and vulnerability, which were fully on display in the Week 1 loss to Washington.
As long as Petersen is at the helm, it’s likely that the Broncos will always be an annual contender in the Mountain West. But it remains to be seen whether Boise State can get back to the level of being a threat on the national scene ever again.
Whether you love Petersen’s squad or always felt like the team was overrated, you at least have to appreciate the Broncos’ rise to prominence. It was a rare story that captured the attention of the college football world and kept it captivated for a longer period than anyone could have imagined.
Sadly, the fun always has to end at some point, and every successful run, no matter how great, must come to a close.
While it’s too early to say that Boise State’s time in the sun is over, it’s certainly not too early to wonder about just what the future truly holds for the boys in blue.
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Boise State vs. Tennessee-Martin
Game Date: Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013
Kickoff: 3:00 PM PST
Where: Bronco Stadium, Boise, Idaho
Radio: Bronco Radio Network, 670 AM KBOI Boise, Idaho
When looking at the Broncos 2013 schedule it appeared as if Week 2 wouldn't be a big challenge for Boise State, as it would pit them against Tennessee-Martin, an FCS school out of the Ohio Valley Conference.
However, after the way the Broncos looked in Week 1, there are doubts going into this contest.
Not only that, but San Diego State, Kansas State, Oregon State, Connecticut and Iowa State were all upset in the first week of the college football season by teams from the FCS.
Maybe it's all the extra practice teams in the FCS get from the playoffs at the end of their seasons?
Whatever the reason, Boise better be on upset alert, and they better come ready to play. San Diego State was absolutely thrashed by Eastern Illinois last week 40-19.
The Panthers ran up 533 yards of offense on the Aztecs, and dominated the game from the second quarter on. Oh, by the way, Eastern Illinois is out of the same conference Tennessee-Martin is.
Let's look closely at this contest to try to determine what Boise State must do to rebound from such a stinging loss, and how they can avoid a second straight week of disappointment.
Last week’s results
Clemson (1-0) beat then-No. 5 Georgia 38-35.
South Carolina State (0-1) lost at Coastal Carolina 27-20.
Most important story lines of the week
Will Clemson be motivated?
It’s a natural question, given the emotional nature of Clemson’s win over Georgia, which made the Tigers the first non-SEC team ever to score back-to-back wins over top-10 SEC teams. Those Bulldogs are followed by a slightly less powerful group of Bulldogs in South Carolina State.
The in-state FCS program went 5-6 in 2012 and is coming off an opening-week loss to fellow FCS team Coastal Carolina. Couple their visit with a lower-energy 12:30 p.m. kickoff, and you have a recipe for a letdown.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said all the right things about S.C. State, noting that seven FCS teams beat FBS opponents in week 1, led by North Dakota State’s stunner at Kansas State. Swinney wants his team to know that each of the 12 weeks of the season are valuable, that they represent what players work for all year long. Play without energy, he said, and you get beat. If the Tigers come out flat, it won’t be for lack of effort on his part.
Where can Clemson improve?
Despite the impressive win, Swinney knows the Tigers have plenty of room for improvement. Clemson receivers dropped six of Tajh Boyd’s passes last week, including key bobbles by juniors Martavis Bryant and Charone Peake. In addition, junior star wideout Sammy Watkins muffed a punt which was recovered by Georgia, and senior special teams player C.J. Jones saved a near-disaster when he scooped up a punt which had deflected off freshman linebacker Ben Boulware into the end zone.
Clemson allowed 545 yards of total offense to Georgia, and there were issues with soft coverage and poor tackling which led to more yardage. South Carolina State uses a quick-tempo offense which logged 58 rush attempts last week, which could test the Tigers’ defense.
Will more young players see time?
Only five true freshmen saw action against Georgia—Boulware, defensive end Shaq Lawson, nickel back Korrin Wiggins, wide receiver Mike Williams and safety Cordrea Tankersley. That number should rise this week; cornerback Mackensie Alexander and tight end Jordan Leggett are expected to return from minor injuries which sidelined them against UGA. With Clemson a massive favorite, expect Swinney to empty his bench early on and get young players key experience.
Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
Place: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, S.C.
TV: Fox Sports Net (regional)
Radio: Clemson and South Carolina State radio networks (regional)
Spread: Clemson -52 via VegasInsider.com
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The No. 17-ranked Michigan Wolverines (1-0) host the No. 11-ranked Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (1-0) at the Big House. Last week, the Wolverines thumped Central Michigan 59-9 in their home opener, while the Irish defeated Temple 28-6. This will be the second night game in the history of Michigan Stadium and the last time the Irish will play in Ann Arbor for the foreseeable future.
Here's what you need to know:
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Place: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Michigan vs. Notre Dame Series: 23-16-1
Radio: Michigan IMG Sports Network
Spread: Michigan by 3.5, via TheSpread.com
Live Stats: MGoBlue.com
Last Meeting: Notre Dame 13, Michigan 6 (Sept. 22, 2012)
Unable to overcome five first-half turnovers, U-M fell to Notre Dame, 13-6, on Sept. 22, 2012, at Notre Dame Stadium. The Maize and Blue cut the Notre Dame lead to a touchdown late in the contest but could not halt the Fighting Irish.
The random-year rivalry will burn once again in a white-hot Miami on Saturday.
No. 9 Florida travels to No. 24 Miami for a "white-out" game in the depths of Sun Life Stadium to ring in a meeting that hasn't gone down since 2008.
Last weekend, the Florida Gators secured a 24-6 win against the Toledo Rockets, debuting a solid offensive line and impressive depth at running back.
The Miami Hurricanes downed the Florida Atlantic Owls 34-6, showing that running back Duke Johnson is still a force to be reckoned with.
Though both teams came out of Week 1 bearing a win and freezing their opponents at only six points, one team will suffer its first loss of the season after this weekend.
When: 12 p.m. ET
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
Radio: Sirius 91, XM 91
Spread: Florida (-3), via Covers.com
Week 2 will not be a breeze for the Texas Longhorns as they head to Provo, Utah, to take on the BYU Cougars.
Texas looked like an improved team in its season opener against New Mexico State, but a lot of questions remain unanswered. The Longhorns' offense produced 256 yards and 14 points in the first half, but 123 of those yards came in the final two minutes.
The light switched on for the Texas offense in the second half and led to a 56-7 win. A slow start in Provo may not be as easy to overcome against BYU's defense, which ranked third nationally in scoring defense and total defense in 2012.
BYU did not start the season the way the Cougars wanted, losing 19-16 on the road at Virginia. Quarterback Taysom Hill was 13-of-40 passing and threw an interception in the fourth quarter that led to a game-winning Virginia touchdown.
But Week 1 may not have accurately displayed what BYU is capable of doing. The Cougars endured a two-hour weather delay and played the majority of the second half in a heavy downpour.
Both BYU and Texas have switched to up-tempo offenses, and both offenses had rocky season debuts. The Longhorns and the Cougars will be looking for improvement Saturday when they face off in Provo.
When: Saturday, September 7, 7 p.m. ET
Where: LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, Utah
Radio: Local KSL 1160 AM/102.7; National BYU Radio - Sirius XM 143
Spread: Texas (-7), per VegasInsider.com
The recent win streak, along with other successes, has helped thrust South Carolina into the elite status of an SEC powerhouse team.
Spurrier has graced college football with his coaching greatness for quite a long time and he is looking to continue his dominance with a memorable season at South Carolina.
Meanwhile, Richt's Bulldogs looked to be a direct threat to the Gamecocks until their opening-game loss to Clemson, though the the defeat does not impact the SEC East division race.
South Carolina has thrived under Spurrier and he has been out-coaching Richt for years, so how does he continue this string of success?
Keep Doing What He's Been Doing
Spurrier is a football genius—look at his success. He has a career coaching record of 209-77-2, with 67 of those victories coming at South Carolina. That means he has won 73 percent of the games he has coached.
Spurrier is a true winner. Over the last two years, he has led the Gamecocks to identical 11-2 records, including wins over Richt's Bulldogs.
He needs to keep approaching the game in the same manner, and he knows it. Spurrier is too smart not to realize he has Richt on his heels.
Utilize the Team's Strengths
Spurrier knows how to make use of what he has. In the past, South Carolina was not a stacked team. Fortunately for the Gamecocks, they now are a really deep team full of solid talent.
Of course, he recognizes the power of the defensive line led by Jadeveon Clowney and company. However, the biggest strength is the running game.
Mike Davis burst onto the scene with a strong performance against North Carolina. He is one of the biggest keys to beating Georgia as well as competing for an SEC title.
South Carolina is more than talented enough to take down Georgia, which is coming off a devastating early-season loss to Clemson.
Spurrier needs to continue to use his team's biggest strengths to exploit teams this season—especially the Bulldogs.
Let His Team Do the Talking
Let's face it, Spurrier likes to open his mouth sometimes. So does Richt.
Right now, Richt does not have much to work with other than opening his mouth to stir up ways to get inside Spurrier's head.
Well, Spurrier is a strong guy and doesn't break easily.
Coaches can talk all they want. Players can talk all they want. Those who realize that the real talking is done on the football field, however, are the ones who have the upper hand.
That edge goes to Spurrier. Momentum is on his side.
Once again, South Carolina is a special team. The Gamecocks can beat the Bulldogs and continue their dominance over their rival.
Spurrier should let his team speak for him because its actions will speak louder than words.
Four straight wins over Georgia would send Aaron Murray out as a winless quarterback against South Carolina, a traumatic blank spot on an otherwise good college career.
The Gamecocks would love to make all of Georgia's seniors winless in their careers against them.
They will do the talking and Spurrier can sit back and enjoy the ride, because he has the advantage over Richt.
The old ball coach is at the top of his game and Richt is slumping against South Carolina. One more punishing blow from Spurrier and an 0-2 start to what was supposed to be a promising season will have Georgia scrambling.
Spurrier just needs to keep doing what he is doing because he has been out-coaching Richt head-to-head for years. It's now time for the finishing move this Saturday in Athens.
Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com
Notre Dame had one of the best defensive lines in the nation in 2012. Though the Fighting Irish lost a few of their starters, the depth on the line has ensured that they remain considered one of the toughest in the country.
This week, the Irish head to Ann Arbor to take on rival Michigan in their last meeting at The Big House.
Here are three reasons why the Wolverines' backs will have a rough day this Saturday.
1. Lack of Depth at RB
Last Saturday, the Wolverines lost redshirt freshman Drake Johnson to a torn ACL during their game against Central Michigan. Prior to his injury, Johnson earned a spot on Michigan's two-deep roster behind star running back Fitzgerald Toussaint.
The injury leaves rushing duties to senior Toussaint and true freshman Derrick Green as his primary backup.
Green is no slouch. The former 5-star running back was given offers by Auburn and Alabama. However, his lack of experience will be an issue when he goes toe-to-toe with the Irish defense.
2. Issues with the Offensive Line
Students of the game know that it takes more than speed, power and agility to make a successful running back. You also need a solid offensive line to open running lanes. As such, problems for the Wolverines' ground attack go beyond the lack of depth at back.
Michigan's new starting center, Jack Miller, showed several red flags during the team's game against CMU. B/R featured columnist Phil Callihan noted Miller's miscues:
He was spun around by a defender, missed a block, found himself dangerously close to being illegally downfield on a 36-yard passing play and contributed to an illegal procedure penalty when the offense took off prior to his snap of the ball. And that was just during the first quarter.
Keep in mind that the inexperienced Miller will be directly across the line from Irish goliath Louis Nix. Nix and defensive end Stephon Tuitt are potential first-round NFL draft picks.
Michigan's offensive line, on the other hand, features three players with one start apiece.
3. The Irish Front Seven
Last, but certainly not least, there is the Irish defensive line.
In 2012, Notre Dame had the nation's seventh-best rushing defense, allowing just 105.7 rushing yards per game.
The Irish have three returning starters on the line. The aforementioned Nix and Tuitt, along with Prince Shembo. They are joined by defensive end Sheldon Day, linebackers Carlo Calabrese and Dan Fox, and freshman former 5-star recruit Jaylon Smith.
While Smith is the youngest player on the line, what he lacks in experience at the college level, he makes up for in talent.
According to 247Sports.com's composite rankings, Smith was the No. 2 overall recruit and the top outside linebacker of the class of 2013.
Add all that up and you have one serious uphill battle for Toussaint this Saturday in The Big House.
He is an elusive scatback with great speed and a low center of gravity, but his talent will simply not be enough to overcome the issues on the Michigan O-line, the strength of the Irish front seven and the lack of depth at his position.
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Saturday night's Notre Dame-Michigan game at fabled Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor marks the beginning of an end of an era.
For 29 of the past 35 seasons, the Irish and Wolverines have tussled on the gridiron. They'll do Saturday night and next year in South Bend, but after the clock strikes zero on Sept. 6, 2014, the rivalry will end, for awhile at least.
With its move to the ACC, Notre Dame will play five games each season against ACC foes beginning in 2014. With Navy, Stanford and USC needing to be annual opponents, the Irish decided prior to last year's game that there would simply not be enough room on their schedule to play Michigan.
While anyone age 40 or under sees the Irish and Wolverines as historic rivals, the teams have met only 40 times. 15 of those battles have come at the stadium nestled on the edge of the Michigan campus at the corner of Stadium and Main, known simply as "The Big House".
The Big House was initially quite hospitable to its visitors from northern Indiana.
Notre Dame's first trip to Michigan Stadium came 70 years ago with the Irish ranked No. 1 behind eventual Heisman Trophy winner Angelo Bertelli. The Wolverines were ranked No. 2, but were overwhelmed by Frank Leahy's team, 35-12.
The rivalry lied dormant in the post-war era (although Mark May and Skip Bayless think otherwise), as the teams would not meet again until 1978. After Michigan began the renewal with a 28-14 upset win over Joe Montana and the Irish in South Bend, Notre Dame returned the favor with a 12-10 win over No. 6 Michigan in 1979.
The 1980s saw the Irish change coaches twice, first in 1981 when Gerry Faust took over a Notre Dame team that had played for the national title a year earlier. It entered the Michigan game ranked No. 1, but the Wolverines handed the Irish the first of many blowout losses in Faust's failed tenure, a 25-7 rout.
Four years later, Faust's final season before being fired, Michigan again upset the Irish, 20-12, as Notre Dame failed to score a touchdown for the second time in three trips to Ann Arbor.
After Faust's dismissal, Notre Dame turned to Lou Holtz to restore the program to its glory days. In addition to winning a national title and nearly missing two others, Holtz won three of four games at Michigan Stadium during his 11-year stay in South Bend.
A 26-7 rout in 1987 put the Irish back on the national radar, propelling them to an eight-win season for the first time since 1980.
If there is a signature moment for Notre Dame fans at the Big House, it came in 1989. The teams were again ranked No. 1 and No. 2, with Michigan seeking revenge for a missed field goal a year earlier that cost it a win in South Bend. Raghib "Rocket" Ismail made sure that didn't happen, as he returned not one, but two kickoff returns for touchdowns in a 24-19 Notre Dame win.
After losing four straight in the series, Michigan "went for it all" in 1991, using a diving touchdown reception from Desmond Howard on a fourth-down play (that's a young Les Miles at 0:55) to help defeat the Irish for the first time in five years, 24-14. Holtz's final game in Michigan Stadium was another upset, as the 11th-ranked Irish stunned No. 3 Michigan, 27-23, en route to an 11-1 season in 1993.
Since Holtz's departure, Michigan Stadium has been nothing short of a house of horrors for Notre Dame. It has won just once in seven visits, an ugly 17-10 win in 2005. That victory was sandwiched by 38-0 losses in 2003 and 2007, tied for the Irish's worst losses in the history of the series.
Michigan's only national title since 1948 came in 1997, but a Notre Dame team that finished 7-5 had a golden opportunity to prevent that from ever coming to fruition. Three different times Notre Dame had possession deep in Michigan territory trailing 21-14 in the fourth quarter, but the Irish failed to score on all three.
1999 was equally as heartbreaking, as a controversial unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Notre Dame's Bobby Brown forced the Irish to kick off from the 20-yard line after taking a 22-19 lead late in the final quarter. Michigan used good field possession to regain the lead, as Anthony Thomas scored on another disputed call to provide the winning points in a 26-22 Wolverines victory.
Then, of course, there are the 2009 and 2011 games. As much as they may have tried, Irish fans have struggled to rid themselves of the memories from the team's two most recent appearances in the Big House.
Those two games bookended a three-year stretch where Notre Dame led with 30 seconds in each game, but lost all three. In 2009, Tate Forcier capped a game-winning drive with an 8-yard touchdown to Greg Matthews. Two years later, it was Denard Robinson finding Roy Roundtree for the winning points with just seconds remaining after Notre Dame had taken the lead less than a minute earlier.
Heading into Saturday night's primetime showdown, Notre Dame stands just 6-9 in Michigan Stadium. Regardless of whether it is 6-10 or 7-9 after the game, one thing is for certain. Whichever it is, it will remain the team's record there for the foreseeable future.
That's a sad reality for fans of the two teams.
Despite the recent failures, most Notre Dame fans will tell you this is a game they hate to see end.
Just over a year from now, it will be all gone.
Tradition often gives way to progress, never more so than in college football, where in recent years the almighty dollar has taken from us such yearly staples as Texas-Texas A&M, Pittsburgh-West Virginia and Colorado-Nebraska. 53 weeks from now, you can add Michigan-Notre Dame to that list.
As you're watching Saturday night, just the sixth night game in the history of the rivalry, be sure to reflect on the thrill of victories and the agony of defeats that have taken place in so many classic games when the Irish and Wolverines have gotten together at the Big House.
There have been plenty of indelible moments between the two teams at Notre Dame Stadium as well.
We'll just save those for next September.
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Nebraska football fans were departing from Memorial Stadium after Saturday’s 37-34 win over Wyoming in a state of disbelief. Again with the 600 yards of offense allowed? And where is this super-powered offense we’ve been promised?
Many questions remain to be answered, but what should not get lost in the shuffle is that the offense in general, and quarterback Taylor Martinez in particular, put up some pretty decent numbers against the Cowboys. Martinez had 16 carries for 80 yards and was 17-of-22 for 155 yards passing with three touchdowns.
You’ve had enough doom and gloom over Nebraska’s “win” over Wyoming on Saturday. So here are a few silver linings from Martinez’s performance.
He’s Getting the Tempo Right
There’s a legitimate debate as to whether Nebraska’s new high-speed tempo makes sense. Two false-start penalties likely had something to do with the frenetic pace Nebraska’s offense was trying to reach, and it did seem at times like the offense was rushed and off-base when snapping the ball.
But snap the ball it did, and fast.
It was the norm, when Nebraska was in hurry-up mode, to snap the ball with more than 20 seconds on the play clock. Frequently, there were more than 25 seconds left. When things were moving well, there were 28 seconds left.
And much of that is down to Martinez knowing and being comfortable in that hurry-up mode.
Fans may question whether the hurry-up is a more haste, less speed issue, but there is no doubt that Nebraska is intending to use that high tempo this year on offense. And, at least for the first game, Martinez looked ready to run it.
He’s Being a Leader
Remember when Martinez was a freshman and wasn’t addressing the media at all? Remember when we all perceived him as an outsider, not well liked or respected by his teammates?
Apparently those days are over.
Martinez has been named a team captain, and after NU’s shaky win against Wyoming on Saturday he stepped up and called his teammates out.
“We let them back into the game, and that shouldn't happen,” Martinez said, quoted by Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald. “Great teams don't let that happen.”
That quote checks all the leadership boxes you want to hear from a quarterback. Accepting responsibility? Check. Publicly calling out the performance of the team as insufficient? Check. Calling on the team as a whole to do better? Check.
In the midst of the “is he transferring?” debacle after the 2010 Texas A&M game, it would have been hard to imagine Martinez as a team leader. But there he is, in his first game of his senior season and after a game that was a loss everywhere but on the scoreboard, standing up and doing his job as a leader.
He’s Not Turning the Ball over as Much
Okay, hear me out on this one. Yes, I know that Martinez had two turnovers, which were crucial in spurring the Cowboys’ late-game heroics.
But there are turnovers, and there are turnovers, and the two against Wyoming were far from “typical” Martinez turnovers.
For the interception, it looked to me like the receiver broke in a different direction than where the ball went just before Martinez threw. Sure, that could be on Martinez not knowing the route. But my money is on the receiver in that circumstance running the wrong route, which makes for an easy pick.
For the fumble, I would lay much more blame on Beck than on Martinez. It’s late in the game, it's 4th-and-1, and you have a stable of I-backs who have been terrorizing Wyoming’s defense. And you decide to let your fumble-prone quarterback—nursing what was clearly an injured shoulder—try to get that crucial yard?
Yes, Martinez deserves criticism for his ball security, but at some point he has to be put in positions to succeed.
I know it’s a stretch, and I know that Martinez got away with a near-pick as Nebraska was going in to score in the first half that could have shifted momentum. But he also went three quarters and change without turning the ball over. Sad as it may be to acknowledge, for Martinez, that’s progress.
Or, you could always use the Twitter machine to follow @patrickrunge
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Stephen Morris is the starting quarterback and offensive captain for the 2013 Miami Hurricanes, and he is emerging as a top prospect for the 2014 NFL draft.
But he doesn't have a marquee win in his college career at this point.
That can change, however, on Saturday.
But he must earn every single yard against a terrific Florida Gators defense.
Florida's defensive line, including Dominique Easley and Dante Fowler Jr., constantly pressures and disrupts opposing backfields. The linebackers, headlined by Ronald Powell, usually make every tackle on the second level. And the secondary, though undeniably young, is full of the vaunted SEC speed.
But the unit is not unbeatable—it's simply rather difficult.
Although there are just a handful of ways to take advantage of the Florida defense, Morris has the talent to find these areas and help spring an upset on the 12th-ranked Gators.
It could have been one of the biggest letdowns of my early career as a sideline reporter at USC. The Trojans were hosting the Washington Huskies at home, and punter Kyle Negrete had just executed an electrifying fake punt for 35 yards.
It would later go on to be considered the turning point of the game, but for me, it was the moment when I was supposed to give an update on what was happening on the field, and my IFB earpiece went out.
I knew I had about a minute until I had to deliver my soundbite, but I could hear nothing from my production crew in the booth above the Coliseum. My initial reaction was to panic; I texted my crew, but cell phone reception in the Coliseum is notoriously terrible, so they didn't get it.
Instead of absolutely freaking out, I calmed down and counted down to what I thought had been a minute. Then, I just went with it: I delivered my piece, explaining how Negrete's fake punt had breathed new life into the offense. The Trojans went on to roll 40-17, and after the game, I found out that my piece came in loud and clear over the radio waves.
I continued doing sideline and studio coverage for the rest of the 2011 season and learned a lot about what it means to remain calm under fire.
Since then, I have been the lead editor for Reign of Troy, now going on three seasons. I've also covered the 2012 Olympics for Neon Tommy (a USC Digital Website), as well as the 2012 Euro Cup. I've reported on city issues in Los Angeles as a field journalist for Annenberg TV News, covering topics ranging from Occupy LA to the Democratic Midterm Elections. I've interned at ABC NewsOne in Glendale, CA and have worked at the Happiest Place On Earth (Disneyland).
I graduated from USC in 2012 with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism and am currently pursuing my Master's degree in Multimedia Journalism from Cal Berkeley. I am very excited to be a part of the Bleacher Report team this season!
I will be bringing you the happenings from USC this season, so I wanted to introduce myself to the dedicated members of the Trojan Family. I will answer a few questions about myself and USC, but feel free to comment with any other questions you have!
Best athlete or coach to interview OR Athlete or coach you'd love to interview
I never got to interview him in my time at USC, but I would love to sit down with Pete Carroll. He was a larger-than-life figure in Troy, and he always took the time to pose for a picture or two with fans and students alike on campus.
My fondest memory of Pete was during my freshman year, when I worked for the Women of Troy basketball team. Flanked with a number of recruits, Pete showed the young athletes the Galen Center and then took a few minutes to shoot hoops with us and the girls on the team. He has a pretty mean fadeaway, too!
Best player or team covered
The 2011 USC squad has been my favorite to cover. At the outset, no one expected the Trojans to win many games, just one year into the crippling NCAA sanctions. By the end of the year, the Trojans had won 10 games, including a thriller against Oregon, at Autzen. Not only that, but it was my senior year at USC, and beating the Bruins 50-0 in my final game as a student is a memory I will never forget.
Most memorable ever game covered
Stanford-USC 2011. That game was absolutely NUTS. When Nickell Robey picked off Andrew Luck and ran it back for the go-ahead touchdown, the crowd in the Coliseum absolutely lost all composure. It was electric. I'd never seen the stadium so hyped, save for against Ohio State in the very first game of my student life, in 2008. Even though the Trojans lost in triple-overtime it was that game when fans, naysayers and the media alike all agreed that this Trojan team was to be taken seriously.
Who will emerge as USC's starting quarterback in 2013?
Lane Kiffin has decided who the quarterback will be, though he has declined to tell the public. My gut tells me it will be Cody Kessler, because were it to be Wittek, he would have announced it already.
How many games must Lane Kiffin win in 2013 to avoid the hot seat?
As long as USC does not absolutely tank this season, Kiffin will remain the head coach at USC next year. Pat Haden wanted a tight ship run during the sanctioned years, and Kiffin has given him exactly that. Anything more than seven wins will be enough to keep him, and the Trojans are poised to rebound once they can have the maximum allotment of scholarship athletes on roster again.
What are the biggest changes we can expect to see in the defense in 2013?
First, a new-look defense that will make the Trojans more competitive against the spread, as well as a more aggressive unit in general. We can expect a quarterback under center that will be the new face of the program and a stable of running backs that can help restore USC to its Tailback U days of glory.
What will be USC's offensive identity in 2013? (run/pass/balance)
With running back depth for the first time in years, we can expect the Trojans to boast a confident running game. Through the air, Marqise Lee is complimented by Nelson Agholor and Darreus Rogers, a trio that is sure to cause opposing secondaries' fits all season. I think we will see a much more balanced offensive assault from the Trojans in 2013, as they finally have all the pieces they need to fully execute sustainable passing and rushing attacks.
2013 Season Prediction for USC
With the schedule USC has this year, I am going to go out on a limb here and say they win 10 games. By the time the offense settles in, the Trojans will be in the meat of the schedule—one that brings both Stanford and UCLA to the Coliseum, while only having to travel to South Bend to face a rival. ASU could be a challenge, but I see the Trojans bouncing back from 2012 and having a double-digit win column when December rolls around.
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala.—Alabama coach Nick Saban is good for one or two press conference blowups every season.
Whether it's about sacks, the depth chart, or how Missouri joining the SEC affects the Tennessee rivalry, Saban will find a question he doesn't like and tell you just why he doesn't like it. It usually involves a louder volume, a piercing glare and a swear word or two.
Saban only achieved two of those three conditions today in his first press conference since Alabama's 35-10 victory over Virginia Tech. But after a lackluster performance by the Alabama offense, a testy Saban should be good news for the Crimson Tide fanbase.
In his opening statement, Saban targeted players who needed a "wake-up call":
"We live in a society now where everybody wants to do what they want to do.
"Nobody wants to be obedient. Nobody wants to pay attention to rules or whatever. When you make a rule you've got to have your dog on a leash, somebody wants to have their dog not on a leash. That's the way it is.
"We can't have a team of people like that. We've got rules, we've got things that people need to buy into, be committed to, principles and values of the organization. Everybody's got to do it."
His first question was about how younger receivers like Chris Black could get on the field and see playing time. Then he got a series of questions about young players like Derrick Henry, Altee Tenpenny, A'Shawn Robinson and O.J. Howard.
"You know, what I’d like to ask is, we’ve got a lot of really good players around here, all right, that really play like crazy, like C.J. Mosley.
"The guy plays every play in the game and on two special teams, he’s running down the sidelines with Christion Jones, faster than Christion Jones is, cuts the angle off the safety so the guy can run for a touchdown. Why isn’t somebody asking about him? What’s wrong with asking about him and what kind of player he is and how did he do? Because I mean, that guy does fantastic. Aight?"
And then he finally got a question about an experienced player: quarterback AJ McCarron and his mobility.
"I’m, you know, sort of sick and tired of talking about this B.S. Aight? 'Cause it’s nothing. Aight?" he responded.
Alabama fans haven't been happy with the Crimson Tide's 25-point victory over Virginia Tech—a product of the sustained success they have enjoyed under Saban. Fans expect the most from their team, and they expect to see the same expectations in their head coach.
Saban usually obliges.
Everything Saban does revolves around one thing: winning football games. That includes recruiting, interacting with boosters and alumni, talking to fans, dealing with players and, yes, talking to the media.
Saban can use the media for recruiting, something that obviously helps him have success. Before last season, I asked him how junior college transfer Deion Belue had picked up his "complicated defense" to earn a starting spot.
"Why do you say the defense is complicated?" he quipped back, not wanting to scare off a potential recruit.
He can use it to get a message across to his team. Before last season's Western Kentucky game—after a throttling of Michigan had people raving about a possible repeat already—he went on a rant about the media not respecting the Hilltoppers.
"We win one game and I can't believe what gets written," he said.
Those comments were directed at his players as much as they were directed at the media. It's one thing to hear from your coach that you're not handling success well, but it's another to turn on the TV and have your girlfriend, your family and your friends hear it from him too.
Tuesday was no different. Alabama struggled, especially on offense, against an upper-tier ACC team—nothing to be ashamed about for most teams, but Alabama isn't most teams. Saban will use every outlet possible—especially the media—to get his message across to his players.
And the fans love it, too. I got multiple tweets from fans happy to hear that Saban was in a foul mood after Saturday's showing.
He had been strangely calm during fall camp. Sure, he'd have a snide remark here and there, but nothing like today.
Saban is back to being frustrated at a team that won by 25 points against a quality opponent in its season opener. That's a good thing for Alabama—and a scary thing for the rest of college football.
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