Top-ranked Oklahoma used its “fast-break” offense to score three second-half touchdowns and overcome number-three Maryland, 20-6, in the Orange Bowl to claim the national championship. It was the 30th straight win for the Sooners and the second number-one finish in three seasons.
After spotting top-ranked Nebraska a 14-0 lead, number-two Oklahoma stormed back to earn a 31-14 win, snapping a seven-game losing streak to the Huskers and ending NU’s 13-game winning string. QB Josh Heupel threw for 300 yards and a touchdown, and linebacker Rocky Calmus registered 17 tackles.
This one was all about the defense. Oklahoma held Penn State to 103 yards rushing and picked off four Nittany Lion passes in a 25-10 Orange Bowl win that secured OU’s sixth national crown. Linebacker Brian Bosworth had 13 tackles, and QB Jamelle Holieway and tight end Keith Jackson connected on a 71-yard TD.
The Ohio State crowd was chanting, “Block that kick!” so Sooners kicker Uwe von Schamann decided to play along. After “directing” the cheers, he drilled a 41-yard field goal that gave Oklahoma a dramatic 29-28 win over the Buckeyes.
Earlier in the day, top-ranked Ohio State had lost to UCLA in the Rose Bowl, so if the Sooners could knock off Michigan, they would be national champs. Thanks to touchdown runs by Billy Brooks – on an end around – and QB Steve Davis, OU earned a 14-6 victory and its first national crown under Barry Switzer.
What are the best jobs in sports broadcasting today?
If you could have any national sports broadcasting job in sports, what would it be? Do you want to be at the games and travel all over the country? Do you want to be a studio host with a more stable work schedule? Do you want to become extremely popular in one niche field or cover a wide range of all sports? Are ratings more important than content?
There are many different ways to value sports broadcasting jobs, but Athlon Sports has tried to rank the best national sports broadcasting jobs in the industry today.
Adam Rosales launched an apparent game-tying home run...or did he?
Last night, Adam Rosales of Oakland launched an apparent game-tying home run in the ninth inning at Cleveland only to have it ruled a double by the umpiring crew. After reviewing the call via replay, the umpiring crew, led by Angel Hernandez, emerged and held Rosales at second base.
HEAD COACH: Gary Patterson, 116-36 (12 years) |
OFF. COORDINATOR: Jarrett Anderson, Rusty Burns |
DEF. COORDINATOR: Dick Bumpas
Technically, TCU returns five starters on offense, but a more accurate number would be eight.
Not only has quarterback Casey Pachall returned, but so has former leading rusher Waymon James and projected starting tight end Stephen Bryant. Both James and Bryant were sidelined with season-ending injuries in 2012, and Pachall returns after missing the final nine games when he left school to seek treatment for substance abuse.
Pachall has been given the chance to earn his starting job back from Trevone Boykin, who filled in admirably as a redshirt freshman. Boykin is talented and does a better job improvising, but Pachall has a stronger arm and a firmer grasp of the offense. Now a senior, Pachall could be the story of the year in college football if he stays healthy — physically and mentally — and helps TCU compete for a Big 12 title.
James’ return is as big as Pachall’s. He led the Frogs in rushing in 2011 and was off to a good start before injuring his knee in Week 2. If TCU’s line can shore up its depth issues, the Horned Frogs could emerge as the team to beat in the Big 12.
Nine starters return to a TCU defense that ranked first in the league and 16th nationally.
The two losses are big — defensive end Stansly Maponga and linebacker Kenny Cain — but the Frogs have been at their best in the Gary Patterson era when their secondary is deep and experienced. And that’s the case in 2013. Led by strong safety Sam Carter and All-America cornerback Jason Verrett, TCU intercepted 21 passes last season and helped slow down the wide-open offenses of the Big 12.
Associated Press Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Devonte Fields recorded 18.5 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks coming from the right edge, but he will have operate this fall without Maponga coming from the left side. Fields leads a deep and talented defensive line that should be one of the league’s best.
The one area of concern is linebacker, where Marcus Mallet and former walk-on Joel Hasley will likely start. Hasley and Mallet showed they could stop the run in ’12, but too often were beaten in coverage. Former safety Jonathan Anderson moved to linebacker in the spring and could bring an element of speed.
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Casey Pachall, QB – Leads all active quarterbacks with a career passing efficiency rating of 163.1.
Waymon James, RB – Led TCU in rushing with 875 yards in 2011 and was averaging 9.9 yards per carry in 2012 before going down with a season-ending knee injury in Week 2.
Devonte Fields, DE – The Associated Press Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year led the league with 18.5 tackles for a loss and was third with 10 sacks as a true freshman.
Jason Verrett, CB – An All-American who led the Big 12 with six interceptions and 22 passes defended.
Brandon Carter, WR – Consistently provides a big-play threat and is TCU’s leading returning receiver with 590 yards and six touchdowns.
Both kicker Jaden Oberkrom and punter Ethan Perry performed well as true freshmen in 2012. Oberkrom made 22-of-30 field goals, including all six attempts in a triple-overtime loss to Texas Tech, one shy of tying an NCAA single-game record. Perry’s 44.5-yard punting average is the second-best all-time at TCU and the best average since 1981. Deanté Gray’s career opened with a bang when he returned his first punt 70 yards for a score in the 2012 season opener, finishing with a TCU-record 160 return yards. Gray, Verrett and Brandon Carter could all be used on punt and kick returns.
There’s a tangible sense of optimism surrounding TCU as it prepares for its second season in the Big 12.
Patterson has a veteran team — as many as 15 of the projected starting 22 players are juniors or seniors. That wasn’t the case in 2012, when TCU fielded one of the youngest teams in the country.
“This is finally a year where we’re a little bit older,” Patterson said during spring camp. “The last two years we’ve been young, so the guys know what they’re doing.”
But two big areas of concern could cause TCU a lot of problems. The offensive line is thin and inexperienced. The linebacker corps, long a steady cornerstone of the Frogs’ defense, is dreadfully lacking in depth. If Patterson can solve these two problem areas, TCU should find itself in position to win a conference title.
HEAD COACH: Gary Andersen, First Season |
OFF. COORDINATOR: Andy Ludwig |
DEF. COORDINATOR: Dave Aranda
Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig could face significant challenges in his first season at UW because of personnel issues. Ludwig should have several playmakers at his disposal, including tailbacks James White and Melvin Gordon, wide receiver Jared Abbrederis and tight end Jacob Pedersen. However, the starter at quarterback won’t be determined until camp, because junior college transfer Tanner McEvoy isn’t set to join the program until the summer.
McEvoy, who redshirted at South Carolina in 2011 before transferring to Arizona Western College, has three seasons of eligibility remaining. He’ll likely battle Joel Stave and Curt Phillips. Stave, a sophomore, took over in Week 4 last season and started six games before suffering a broken collarbone. Phillips, a sixth-year senior, started the last five games in 2012. He has battled through multiple injuries to his right knee but remains a legitimate running threat.
Also, injuries left UW with only eight healthy linemen in the spring, and the staff acknowledges that the overall depth isn’t close to where it needs to be.
Lastly, the wide receiver position beyond Abbrederis remains full of unproven players. UW needs to find a second threat, and no one emerged during spring ball.
Not long after he was hired as UW’s defensive coordinator, Dave Aranda talked enthusiastically about the variety of fronts he planned to use and how he hoped to attack opposing quarterbacks with blitz packages. “I am a big believer in that,” he said. “I’m a big advocate of attacking protections.”
Aranda, who plans to use three-, four- and five-man fronts and use zone blitzes liberally, should have the personnel in the front seven to get after opposing quarterbacks and ease the burden on a secondary that will be green with only one returning starter (safety Dezmen Southward).
UW has a surplus of experienced linemen, and Aranda’s flexibility and desire to attack appears to be a perfect fit for players such as Brendan Kelly, Vince Biegel and Tyler Dippel — all of whom will see time at end/outside linebacker — along with senior linebacker Chris Borland. Opponents know about Borland’s playmaking ability, but Biegel, who played in two games last season before a broken foot forced him to redshirt, could be an outstanding pass-rusher.
UW suffered a blow in April when senior David Gilbert, who had been hampered by injuries to his right foot in each of the last two seasons, announced he was leaving the program.
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Chris Borland, LB — Veteran should be disruptive as the Badgers employ multiple fronts and blitz packages.
Dezmen Southward, S — Fifth-year senior will be the lone returning starter in the secondary. UW needs him to be solid.
Jared Abbrederis, WR — UW’s only legitimate threat at wide receiver, the fifth-year senior averaged 17.1 yards on his 49 catches in 2012.
Kyle French (10-of-16 field goal attempts) and Jack Russell (0-of-2) were inconsistent last season, which led to uncertainty for most of the season. French was outstanding in the spring, but will that carry over to the fall? Punter Drew Meyer (41.5-yard average, 14 punts of 50-plus yards) was solid as a redshirt freshman but must improve his hang time.
New UW coach Gary Andersen needed only four seasons to transform Utah State’s football program from dysfunctional to dynamic. Last season the Aggies won 11 games and secured the school’s first bowl victory in 19 years, and in the process passed Utah and BYU to take over the No. 1 spot in the state.
Andersen wasn’t actively looking to leave Utah State in December when Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez offered him the coaching job — Andersen had already rebuffed overtures from California, Kentucky and Colorado — but he was intrigued by the opportunity to coach on a larger stage and respected the UW program.
Andersen believes UW can compete on a national level, and the players who return in 2013 believe a fourth consecutive Big Ten title is a realistic goal.
HEAD COACH: Mack Brown , 150-43 (15 years) |
OFF. COORDINATOR: Major Applewhite, Darrell Wyatt |
DEF. COORDINATOR: Manny Diaz
After losing to Alabama in the BCS national title game after the 2009 regular season, Texas spent most of the next three years trying to build an SEC-style offense around a power running game with co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin. Harsin is gone — he’s now the head coach at Arkansas State — and so is his offense. Texas is returning to the spread offense that helped the Longhorns reach four BCS bowl games between 2004-09, including a national title in 2005.
Under new play-caller Major Applewhite, the Texas offense will be up-tempo, no-huddle with the ball being snapped every 15 seconds.
The offense seems to suit junior David Ash, the unquestioned starter at quarterback. Ash needs to even out the inconsistency that caused him to be benched in four games last year, including losses to Oklahoma, TCU and Kansas State.
Leading receivers Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley return, and Davis’ ability to stretch the field should help create running room for a trio of strong running backs led by sophomore Johnathan Gray.
All five starters return on the offensive line, a group that helped Texas average 4.6 yards per carry in 2012. The coaches also have big plans for 6'6" tight end M.J. McFarland, who has the speed to be a down-the-field threat.
The Longhorns’ defense made the wrong kind of history last year, giving up more yards (5,244) than any other Texas defense — ever.
The breakdowns seemed to magnify when outside linebacker Jordan Hicks went down with a season-ending hip injury in Game 3. Hicks is back this year and showed in the Spring Game that he may be able to add some serious punch to a defense trying to replace NFL Draft picks Kenny Vaccaro at safety and Alex Okafor at defensive end.
While Hicks and sophomore outside linebacker Peter Jinkens have a chance to be difference-makers, middle linebacker is a huge question mark. Sophomore Dalton Santos appears to have beaten out junior Steve Edmond, who started all but one game last season.
The defensive line has depth, but it needs to be more disruptive, led by senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat (the son of former NFL sack artist Jim Jeffcoat), who returns from a ruptured pectoral muscle.
The secondary will desperately miss Vaccaro’s leadership and physical play. The emergence of corners Sheroid Evans and Duke Thomas will allow junior Quandre Diggs to replace Vaccaro as the nickel back.
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David Ash, QB – Coaches are hoping for consistency from Ash and not the up-and-down performances that caused him to be benched in four games last season.
Quandre Diggs, CB – After leading the team in interceptions in each of the past two years as a cornerback, Diggs will be all over the secondary in 2013.
Johnathan Gray, RB – The lead back of a talented trio, Gray has the elusiveness, toughness and speed to break out this season.
Mike Davis, WR – He nearly had a 1,000-yard season in 2012, and his ability to stretch the field in 2013 will be a huge key to UT’s new up-tempo spread attack.
Jordan Hicks, LB – His season-ending hip injury in Game 3 seemed to help doom the defense. The former 5-star recruit returns this year with huge expectations.
When kicker Anthony Fera transferred from Penn State before the 2012 season, he arrived as an awards candidate after making 14-of-17 field goals in 2011. But he also arrived with a groin injury that never seemed to heal. This year, Fera appears to be the favorite to replace punter Alex King, who averaged 45.3 yards per attempt last year. Sophomores Nick Rose and Nick Jordan are the frontrunners to kick field goals, because Fera’s recurring groin injury seems to be aggravated by the motion to kick field goals but not by punting.
The Longhorns have more starters back than any team in the Big 12 and have the most experienced quarterback in the league in Ash.
But few are picking Texas to win the title after the Longhorns were blown out 63–21 by an Oklahoma team last season that paled in comparison to some of Bob Stoops’ other squads.
Mack Brown said in December 2011 Texas would win a national title in the next “two to three years.” That time is now, and for many Texas fans weary of a 22–16 record (11–15 in Big 12 play) the past three years, it’s put up or shut up time.
Athlon Sports ranks the best Tigers teams since the AP Poll debuted in 1934.
The Clemson Tigers are a proud program that has had some excellent decades — see the 1980s — as well as some times of struggle (1992-2010). But this is a program with loads of potential, committed fans, a great gameday atmosphere and has tasted the top of the mountain once upon a time. Unlike many programs the Tigers have one team that stands above the rest.
Wisconsin had three different quarterbacks make a start last season.
Maryland transfer Danny O’Brien was thought to be the answer, but he struggled early in the year, which prompted the coaching staff to turn to Joel Stave. The former walk-on was solid in his performances, until suffering a broken collarbone against Michigan State.
Syracuse star Jim Brown ran for 132 yards and three TDs, but Jim Swink and the TCU offense traded punches with the Orangemen in a 28-27 Cotton Bowl victory that was decided when Syracuse kicker “Chico” Mendoza missed a PAT after the third ‘Cuse touchdown.
Texas Christian visited top-ranked Texas and was tied, 7-7, late in the fourth quarter when the Frogs stopped the Longhorns on a fourth-and-one from the TCU 27. QB Emery Nix then launched a scoring drive that culminated with a 19-yard TD pass to Van Hall that gave the Frogs a 14-7 win.
With the Frogs clinging to a 21-19 lead, and 2:00 remaining, linebacker Tank Carder knocked away Scott Tolzien’s two-point conversion pass to preserve TCU’s win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl and a perfect season. Even though the Horned Frogs lost the time-of-possession battle, 36:35-23:25, they won with a rushing and a passing TD by quarterback Andy Dalton and a strong defensive effort.
Athlon looks at the 10 greatest players since 1967.
Brown is certainly best known for his MVP performance in Super Bowl XXX in which he intercepted two passes to help Dallas win its – and his – third Championship. He was the first cornerback to ever win the Super Bowl MVP trophy, but he was also a standout in another part of the Metroplex — Ft. Worth, Texas. Brown was drafted in the 12th round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the Cowboys.
The Sweeny, Texas, native played in 50 games, starting the final 39 consecutive, in his storied Frogs career. He finished his career with 228 tackles, 25.0 tackles for a loss, 9.0 sacks, four interceptions and 19 pass breakups. Carder was named to the All-Mountain West team as a sophomore before landing on six All-American teams as a junior. In 2010, Carder helped lead what is arguably the best team in school history as TCU beat Wisconsin in its only BCS bowl victory in program history in the Rose Bowl. The linebacker was named game MVP and earned Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year honors. In 2011, he earned his second Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year award and landed on his second All-American team in as many years. TCU never won fewer than 11 games during his tenure and he ended his career on a team that went 47-5.
The second-most famous Schobel to suit up for TCU, Bo set the single-season sack record with 17.0 QB sacks in 2003. His 120 yards lost on tackles that same year were second-best in school history as well. Despite missing an entire season with a torn ACL, he posted 28.5 career sacks, putting him third all-time in TCU history. Schobel was selected in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Titans. He earned a Super Bowl ring with the Colts as a back-up in 2006.
Davis left school as TCU’s most productive running back — a status that lasted nearly two decades (see No. 1 on this list). He finished his career with a then-school record 2,904 yards and 24 rushing touchdowns. His junior season of 1,611 yards and 16 TDs earned him consensus All-America honors, a 5th-place finish in the Heisman Trophy voting and the single-season rushing record for any Frog — a mark that also lasted nearly two decades. His career numbers would have been dramatically better had he not been suspended for all but one game during his senior season, leaving Frogs fans to wonder what could have been after the 24-carry, 152-yard season debut. Davis was selected in the 2nd round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.
The three-time all-conference performer is TCU’s all-time leading receiver with 2,739 yards in his four-year career. He also caught at least 21 passes in every season, finishing with 162 career receptions — good for second-best in school history. His 10 TD catches in 1977 are a single-season school record, and his 17 career scoring catches are tied for the top mark in Frogs history (Cory Rodgers). The Houston Oilers selected Renfro with in the fourth round of the 1978 draft. He played 10 years in the NFL for both the Oilers and the Cowboys.
Until Andy Dalton arrived, Knake pretty much owned the TCU passing record book as a three-year starter under center. He set the single-season record with 2,624 yards in 1994 as well as the single-season TD record with 24. His 49 career TD passes and 7,370 yards were both school records when Knake left school. Single-season and career pass attempts and completions records were also set by Knake during his time at TCU. The gritty quarterback led the Frogs back to a bowl game for the first time in a decade (1994 Independence Bowl, where they lost to Virginia).
The older cousin of Bo Schobel, Aaron set a school record for sacks in a single season when he registered 10.0 in 1999. Although two other players on this list have since broken that mark, his 31.0 career sacks remain a TCU career record for sacks. Schobel is also the career leader in yards lost by tackling with 315 yards lost. He earned WAC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2000. After dominating offensive lines for four seasons in Ft. Worth, Schobel was selected in the 2nd round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. From 2003 to 2008, he went on to start 116 straight games and made two trips to the Pro Bowl.
Hughes capped one of the most dominating careers in school history in 2009, when he became only the second Frog to earn two-time consensus first-team All-America honors. Hughes’ 15.0 sacks in 2008 led the nation and were good for second all-time in school history. He followed that year up with 11.5 sacks, helping lead TCU to a 12-0 record and the school’s first BCS Bowl berth. Hughes won the Lott and Hendricks Award as a senior, finishing second all-time with 28.5 career sacks. He also owns the No. 2 and No. 3 best single-season sack marks. The Colts selected Hughes in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft with the 30th overall pick.
The red-headed signal caller has left an indelible mark on the TCU program, producing the best four-year run of success in school history. The two-time Mountain West Conference Player of the Year was 42-7 as the starter — including two BCS Bowl berths and a Rose Bowl championship. The win over Wisconsin last winter saw Dalton win his third bowl game MVP trophy (Texas Bowl, Poinsettia Bowl) after a 247-yard performance against the stout UW defense. As expected, Dalton completely rewrote the TCU passing record book as a senior. He set the single-season TD mark with 27 in 2010 as well as the single-season accuracy record at 66.1% completion percentage. His 61.7% career completion mark is also a school record. He became the all-time leader in total offense for not only TCU history but MWC history as well (11,925 yards). His 10,314 passing yards and 71 passing TDs are both school records. His 22 rushing touchdowns are actually good for seventh all-time in Ft. Worth. He finished with 1,611 rushing yards as well.
LT was an unheralded recruit when he arrived at TCU in 1997 from Waco’s University High. After two solid seasons — 538 yards and six TDs as a freshman, 717 yards and eight TDs as a sophomore — Tomlinson exploded onto the national scene. His 269 yards against Arkansas State and 300 yards against San Jose State merely set the stage for his NCAA record-breaking 406 yards against UTEP. He carried the ball 43 times and set a school record with six touchdowns against the Miners. His 1,850 yards led the nation in rushing in 1999, but Tomlinson upped the ante as a senior when he posted the Frogs’ first 2,000-yard season. His 2,158 yards were not only a school and conference record, but also led the nation in rushing and placed as the fourth-best rushing season in NCAA history (at the time). He owns every major rushing record at TCU, while his 5,263 yards rank sixth all-time in NCAA history. As a senior, Tomlinson was a Heisman finalist and claimed the Doak Walker Award as the best running back in the nation. He finished his TCU career with 907 carries — at a 5.8 yards per attempt clip — and 54 rushing TDs. As the fifth overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft by the Chargers, LT went on to become arguably the greatest NFL running back to ever play the game.