Russell Athletic Bowl Preview

West Virginia Mountaineers vs Miami Hurricanes

An old Big East rivalry will resume on December 28 with West Virginia and Miami meeting in Orlando for the Russell Athletic Bowl (Enter Contest). These two teams have not played since 2003. The Mountaineers have lost six in a row in their all-time series against the Hurricanes.

West Virginia heavily recruits the state of Florida, so an appearance in this game against Miami is a good showcase for coach Dana Holgorsen’s program. The Mountaineers are coming off their best win total (10) since joining the Big 12. Holgorsen was inked to a long-term contract following the regular season finale against Baylor. Quarterback Skyler Howard (26 TDs) took a step forward in his development, but the Mountaineers also have a solid collection of running backs and a standout offensive line.

Mark Richt’s return to his alma mater was a much-needed stabilizing force for Miami and better days are ahead for this program. Quarterback Brad Kaaya and running back Mark Walton will test a West Virginia defense that limits opponents to 5.6 yards per play. Keep an eye on the turnover battle. In two losses this year, the Mountaineers were minus-six in margin. Miami was plus-eight for the season and finished the year with positive or even turnover margins in five straight games.

ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA (10-2, 7-2 Big 12)

The Mountaineers rank No. 12 in FBS in total offense (506.9 yards per game) with a balanced attack behind Howard (3,194 yards passing, 60.8 percent, 26 touchdown passes). They also have a backfield that had four different players rush for more than 100 yards in a game. Justin Crawford leads the group with 1,168 yards, 7.4 yards per carry and four TDs. Howard, who is also a running threat, has a trio of dangerous receivers in Daikiel Shorts Jr. (58 receptions, 833 yards), Ka’Raun White (48, 583) and game-breaking Shelton Gibson (40, 927, 23.2 yards per reception). All-American senior cornerback Rasul Douglas, who had eight of the team’s 14 interceptions, is the leader of a unit that ranked No. 3 in total defense (but only No. 79 in FBS) in the offensive-minded Big 12 (431.2 yards per game).

ABOUT MIAMI (8-4, 5-3 ACC)

Kaaya (3,250 yards, 61.2 percent, 23 touchdowns) played his best at the end of the season. He benefited from improved protection from his line, the emergence of explosive freshman wide receiver Ahmmon Richards (46 receptions, 866 yards, 18.8 yards per reception) and the improved play of tight end David Njoku (38, 654, 17.2), who caught seven TD passes. The offensive line’s re-emergence after being dominated during the losing streak also helped. Walton (1,065 yards, 5.5 yards per carry, 14 TDs) and Joe Yearby (592, 6.0) provided balance in the final four wins. With four freshmen in their front seven, Miami’s defense held nine foes to 21 points or fewer.

Posted in CFB

Saturday’s College Featured Matchup

CFB September 17, 2016

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#2 Florida State (2-0) vs #10 Louisville (2-0)

Lamar Jackson has compiled 1,015 yards of total offense and accounted for 13 touchdowns in less than two full games for Louisville, so it goes without saying Florida State wouldn’t mind having all hands on deck defensively. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case for the second-ranked Seminoles.

Preseason All-American sophomore safety Derwin James suffered a cartilage tear in his left knee against FCS foe Charleston Southern last weekend. He will be sidelined indefinitely. Although the Seminoles will be shorthanded defensively, they should have more than enough firepower on the other side of the ball to stick with FBS’ highest-scoring team thus far, as running back Dalvin Cook has already accounted for 284 total yards and two touchdowns in limited action. While Cook has done nothing to hurt his campaign for the Heisman Trophy, Jackson has raced out to an early lead in that regard by ranking third in the country in rushing (318 yards) and eighth in passing (697) while leading Louisville to an average of 66 points in routs over Charlotte and Syracuse.

#25 Miami (2-0) vs Appalachian State (1-1)

After two one-sided victories, No. 25 Miami faces its first true test Saturday against a dangerous Appalachian State team in what is sure to be a hostile environment.  The Hurricanes have shown signs of being ready for such a test, having dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. After depending on junior Brad Kaaya’s arm to carry the offense for two seasons, the Hurricanes are averaging 326 yards a game rushing while the defense has allowed only 34.5 yards on the ground to rank first in the nation despite starting a front seven dominated by freshmen and sophomores. Those young guys will face a big test against the Mountaineers, who are run-first team and feature one the nation’s best running backs in senior Marcus Cox, who entered the season with 4,088 yards rushing and has added 248 yards already this season.

#22 Oregan (2-0) vs Nebraska (2-0)

Mike Riley watched his Oregon State teams drop seven straight “Civil War” games to Oregon before he bolted for Nebraska in December of 2014. It should come as no surprise if the usually mild-mannered coach is a bit more amped up this week. He will get his chance to end his frustration against a familiar foe Saturday when his Cornhuskers host the 22nd-ranked Ducks in the first meeting between the schools in nearly 30 years.

Oregon have been solid starters, enjoying a plus-42 margin before the halftime break only to outscore their foes by one point over the final 30 minutes in its two home triumphs. Although they are sporting their usual offensive proficiency (eighth in FBS in total offense, tied for 14th in scoring offense), the Ducks are ranked 80th in scoring defense and 82nd in total defense despite playing a FCS opponent (UC Davis) and a struggling FBS squad (Virginia).

#1 Alabama (2-0) vs #19 Ole Miss (1-1)

Ole Miss sets its sights on knocking off top-ranked Alabama for the third consecutive season when the No. 19 Rebels host the defending national champions in the SEC opener for both teams. Crimson Tide Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts still hasn’t been declared the starting quarterback over redshirt freshman Blake Barnett but it is heading in that direction after Hurts passed for 287 yards and two touchdowns in last Saturday’s victory over Western Kentucky. While it’s unclear who will start at quarterback for Alabama, the same can’t be said for Ole Miss. Senior quarterback Chad Kelly passed for 341 yards and three touchdowns while fueling last season’s win at Alabama and he has thrown for 532 yards and seven touchdowns in this season’s first two games.

Pittsburgh (2-0) vs Oklahoma State (1-1)

After one of the most bizarre finishes in college football history, Oklahoma State need to return their focus to the football field this week. The previously 17th-ranked squad cannot afford to falter against Pittsburgh. The Cowboys most recent contest turned ugly for them after a misinterpreted rule extended the game. One untimed down allowed the Chippewas to score the winning touchdown on a Hail Mary and lateral. Mike Gundy’s squad tried to kill the final four seconds of the game by throwing the ball away on fourth down with time expired, but they were incorrectly penalized for intentional grounding, setting up the 51-yard play. Pittsburgh is seeking to boost its top-25 credentials by starting 3-0 for just the fourth time since 2000.

Posted in CFB

NCAA Preview 2016

THE ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE (COASTAL)

We are almost there, the NCAA 2016 Football season is going to start in less than 2 month. FanPicks will cover all of the conferences and their teams changes in the blog. If you’ve missed the AAC Atlantic NCAA preview, click here. The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is viewed as one of the best conference in NCAA division 1 football. Bringing 14 program into their fold. The Tar Heel led in the coastal division, clinching top spot and staying undefeated within the conference. They went on to lose both championship game. The ACC final ended 45-37 against Clemson and the Citrus Bowl 49-38 against Baylor. Duke finished strong with a 44-41 OT win in the Pinstripe Bowl against Indiana. Last ACC champions from coastal were Virginia Tech back in 2010.

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Duke Blue Devil Duke logo

With QB Thomas Sirk out indefinitely (ruptured left Achilles), the Blue Devils will expect greater contributions from their running backs, giving ample opportunity for Shaun Wilson to break big gains. The Pinstripe Bowl co-MVP had Duke’s longest run of the season and averaged 5.9 ypc. The junior showed he’s capable of scoring from anywhere on the field in the Blue Devils’ 2015 finale, with an 85-yard rushing TD in the first quarter and a 98-yard kickoff TD return near game’s end.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Georgia Tech logo

QB Justin Thomas was a Heisman Trophy dark horse after an impressive 2014 in which he was the third-best rushing quarterback in the FBS. But last year Thomas finished the season with 972 fewer total yards than he accumulated in 2014. That’s in large part due to reduced production rushing the ball: His 488 yards last year was less than half of his 2014 total on just 45 fewer attempts. Georgia Tech can’t win the ACC without Thomas re-emerging as one of the conference’s best players and nearing 1,000 rushing yards again.

Miami Hurricanes Miami logo

Miami running back Mark Walton was arrested in April on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license, leading the Hurricanes to suspend him from the team indefinitely. Coach Mark Richt needs to turn in some good news this year, and he should do it with the help of QB Brad Kaaya. The junior has started for the Hurricanes since his freshman season and is one of the ACC’s best players. He could even be one of the country’s best quarterbacks. Last year he threw for 16 TDs and just 5 INTs (tied for third best in the ACC), and he should excel under Richt, who uses more traditional pocket passers.

North Carolina Tar Heel North Carlina logo

The Tar Heels’ offense should be even more powerful than last year’s 11-win team. QB Mitch Trubisky has experience and a lot of help from centerpiece RB Elijah Hood, backfield mate T.J. Logan and WRs Ryan Switzer and Mack Hollins. Bowl game excluded, coordinator Gene Chizik’s defense showed significant improvement in 2015 but needs to improve considerably against the run.

Pittsburgh Panthers Pitt logo

In his first season at Pitt as a graduate transfer from Tennessee, QB Nathan Peterman was solid but unspectacular. He threw for 20 TDs, but his yards per attempt and yards per completion were both in the bottom half of ACC QBs. Peterman will have more pressure on him with top receiver Tyler Boyd (926 yards in 12 games) off to the NFL, so he’ll need to find ways to make plays downfield to complement Pitt’s top rushing attack.

Virginia Cavaliers Virginia logo

RB Taquan Mizzell led FBS backs with 75 catches and 721 yards. His catching ability maybe top notch, but new coach Bronco Mendenhall like to hand the ball off. The teams he has coached are almost always in the top half of the FBS in rush attempts. So this fall, the 5-foot-10, 195-pound senior will need to prove he can increase his workload. (He’s never averaged more than 14 carries per game in a season.) He’ll have the benefit of an experienced offensive line, so expect him to improve on last season’s 671 rushing yards (12th in the ACC) and 4.1 yards per carry (19th).

Virginia Tech Hokies Virginia Tech logo

Who will emerge as the teams starting quarterback is anyone’s guess, but at least the Hokies have one constant in the backfield with Travon McMillian. Though the running back averaged only 8.4 carries through the first seven games in 2015, he caught fire over the final six contests, getting the ball 23.5 times per game and becoming the first Hokie since 2011 to gain 96 yards or more in five straight games.

NCAA Preview

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BIG 12 Preview

Posted in CFB

Miami Hurricanes versus Cincinnati Bearcats College Football Fantasy Preview

College Football Fantasy Draft News 9-29-2015

College football action for Thursday night features the Cincinnati Bearcats at home to face the Miami Hurricanes. College football fantasy draft GM’s can tune to ESPN on October 1st at 7:30PM Eastern Time to track the results of their roster picks.

Miami has a record of 3-0 on the year and will be coming off a bye week. They were in a high scoring game in week three as they defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers 36-33 in overtime. The Hurricanes are putting up 41 points per game and that is good for 16th best in college football. The other victories for Miami came against Bethune Cookman at home and a road win at Florida Atlantic. This road game at Cincinnati precedes a road contest the following week at Florida St.

Cincinnati is a 2-2 team this year. Their losses came against Temple at home and last week they lose 53-46 at Memphis. In that loss the Bearcats rolled up 752 yards of offense. Turnovers were a factor in the loss as Cincinnati had a -2 margin in defeat. The teams combined for 1000 yards of passing offense so the Hurricanes could be game planning to exploit them.

Cincinnati Bearcats QB:

Hayden Moore:

With the injury to Gunner Kiel it looks as if Moore will get the start in this one. The freshman signal caller has hit on 56% of his throws for 782 yards with five touchdowns and four picks. In the Memphis game last week Moore hit 31 of 53 passes for 557 yards with four touchdowns and two picks.

Cincinnati Bearcats RB:

Tom Green:

The Bearcats have distributed carries to many running backs on the season. Green leads the club in carries with 61 on the year for 293 yards with three touchdowns. He is rushing for 4.8 yards a carry.

Hosey Williams:

The senior running back has rushed for 271 yards on the year with a touchdown and 4.8 yards a carry average.

Cincinnati Bearcats WR:

Chris Moore

Moore leads the Bearcats with 15 catches for 315 yards with two touchdowns. He is averaging 21 yards per catch. In the game against Memphis Chris Moore caught five balls for 153 yards and a touchdown.

Max Morrison

The senior wide receiver has grabbed 19 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns. Morrison had a monster game at Memphis with nine catches for 162 yards with two touchdowns. He is averaging 15.3 yards per reception on the campaign.

Miami Hurricanes QB:

Brad Kaaya

The sophomore quarterback for the Hurricanes has completed 61% of his throws for 839 yards with five touchdowns and a pick. Kaaya threw for 379 yards in the win against Nebraska and had two touchdowns and a pick. Fantasy football draft managers won’t earn many points from Kaaya on the ground because he has not run much at all.

Miami Hurricanes RB:

Joseph Yearby

The Hurricanes sophomore back has 41 carries for 311 yards with three touchdowns. In the game against Nebraska Yearby had 125 yards rushing with a touchdown and 7.4 yards a carry average.

Mark Walton

Walton is just a freshman and has run 34 times for 150 yards and four touchdowns. He ran for just 2.3 yards a carry in the win against Nebraska on ten carries.

Miami Hurricanes WR:

Rashawn Scott

Scott leads the Hurricanes with 18 catches for 273 yards with a touchdown. The senior wide receiver came up big against Nebraska with nine catches for 151 yards which averaged out to 16.8 yards per catch.

Herb Waters

This is another senior wide out for the Hurricanes. He has caught 11 balls for 194 yards for 17.6 yards per catch average.

Posted in CFB

Auburn Tigers versus LSU Tigers College Football Fantasy One Day League Picks

College Football Fantasy Draft News 9-18-2015

SEC conference action is on tap for Saturday September 19th as the LSU Tigers will host the Auburn Tigers. Fantasy football draft GM’s can tune into CBS TV at 3:30PM Eastern Time to follow the results of their rosters.

The Auburn Tigers are 2-0 facing non-conference opponents. They beat Louisville in the opener 31-24 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated as Auburn dominated this game early. The Tigers got a scare last week as they defeated non-FCS school Jacksonville St 27-20 in overtime.

LSU is 1-0 on the campaign. Their opener with McNeese St was cancelled due to lightning strikes in LSU Stadium area. Last week LSU opened up play with a tough test and they got past Mississippi St 21-19 on the road. They held a 17-6 lead after three quarters and successfully defended a two point conversion with four minutes left for the win.

Auburn Tigers QB:

Jeremy Johnson

The junior quarterback has completed 60% of his passes for 373 yards with three touchdowns and a very poor five interceptions. He threw three picks in the Louisville game and two picks in the win against Jacksonville St. Johnson has only 18 rushing yards in his two games.

Auburn Tigers RB:

Peyton Barber

The sophomore back leads the team in carries with 47 rushes for 240 yards with a touchdown. He had 115 yards in the win against Louisville and rushed for nearly five yards a carry.

Auburn Tigers WR:

Ricardo Louis

Senior wide out Ricardo Louis leads the team by far with 13 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. Louis has a rushing touchdown in the win against Louisville.

LSU Tigers QB:

Brandon Harris

In the win against Mississippi St the sophomore signal caller hit on 9 of 14 throws for 71 yards.

LSU Tigers RB:

Leonard Fournette

The key to the LSU offensive attack comes from running back Leonard Fournette. The sophomore leads the Tigers with 159 yards and three touchdowns and he runs for 5.7 yards a carry in the young season.

LSU Tigers WR:

Travin Dural

The LSU junior wide out has four catches but just for 15 yards. In 2014 he averaged over 20 yards per reception and had seven receiving touchdowns.

Nebraska Cornhuskers versus Miami Hurricanes Cash Real Money Fantasy Tips

The Miami Hurricanes will host the Nebraska Cornhuskers at 3:30PM Eastern Time on ABC TV. This is a revenge game for Miami as they traveled to Lincoln last year and were defeated 41-31. Miami piled up the passing yards for 359 behind their freshman quarterback at the time Brad Kaaya. It was the ground game that won it for the Cornhuskers as they piled up 343 yards rushing in the win.

Posted in CFB