Pictured: Quinton Rose (in dark)
Source: Michael Reaves / Getty Image North America

Preview: Temple at Houston

No. 13 Houston would love to avenge the lone blemish on its record Thursday when it hosts Temple in American Athletic Conference action. The Cougars’ only defeat came earlier this month against the Owls, who now are trying to avoid losing for the third time in four games.

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In the first matchup on Jan. 9, Temple held Houston below 40 percent shooting and converted a crisp 25-of-28 foul shots to hold off the Cougars 73-69. Quinton Rose and Nate Pierre-Louis combined for 40 points, while Houston’s four starters, aside from Breaon Brady, shot a combined 9-of-33 from the field. Houston has since won five in a row – all by at least nine – allowing more than 65 points only once in that stretch. Temple, meanwhile, is 3-2 since its win over the Cougars and blew a 14-point second-half lead against Cincinnati in losing 72-68 its last time out.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2

ABOUT TEMPLE (15-5, 5-2 American): Leading scorer Shizz Alston Jr. (18.5) has really struggled with his shooting in January, and the first game against Houston was perhaps his worst of the month (3-of-15 for 12 points). Rose (17.1 points) has picked up the slack of late and is 7-of-13 from 3-point range in the last two games after opening the season 15-of-77 from beyond the arc. Pierre-Louis (14.0) is seeking his 10th straight game with double-digit points, although he shot a season-low 25 percent (3-of-12) in the defeat to Cincinnati.

ABOUT HOUSTON (20-1, 7-1): The Cougars have two double-digit scorers on the season – Armoni Brooks and Corey Davis Jr. – who combine to average nearly 30 points per game with 133 made 3-pointers between them. Brooks (14.8 points) was 2-of-12 from the field in the first Temple game and managed only five points in 33 minutes. Davis (14.6 points) has scored more than 12 only twice in the last seven outings, including an 11-point effort against Temple on 4-of-11 shooting and an even rougher line (five points on 2-of-14 shooting) in the team’s most recent game – a 77-65 win over Tulsa.


1. Six of Houston’s top eight scorers shoot at least 72 percent from the foul line.

2. Alston has attempted at least five 3-pointers in every game since the season opener.

3. Pierre-Louis had one turnover versus Cincinnati after recording at least three in six straight games.

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Posted in CBB, Top Fantasy Picks

Preview: Temple at Central Florida

Heisman Trophy candidate McKenzie Milton’s status is still day-to-day as ninth-ranked Central Florida goes after its 21st straight victory when Temple visits for an American Athletic Conference showdown Thursday night. The junior quarterback, who has accounted for 22 touchdowns this season, missed the 37-10 victory at East Carolina on Oct. 20 and coach Josh Heupel told reporters it will be a game-time decision whether Milton is under center for the Knights.

Freshman Darriel Mack Jr. was outstanding in Milton’s place versus the Pirates, totaling 189 yards of offense with a touchdown, as UCF’s offense still churned out 427 yards and should be primed to show off its weapons against a strong defense. “It’ll be a lot of fun,” Heupel told reporters. “Thursday night, national TV, great opponent, opportunity to come back at home in front of our crowd. It’s been a while. Hopefully we have a packed house.” Temple boasts a three-game winning streak and has matched UCF with a 4-0 record in the American East Division, leaning on a defense that is 22nd nationally in yards per game against (330.5) and fourth in passing yards allowed per contest (147.5). The Owls, who dropped a 45-19 decision to the Knights in Philadelphia last year, have their own injury issues as defensive tackle Freddie Booth-Lloyd (undisclosed) and running back Ryquell Armstead (ankle) will be game-time decision.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: UCF -10.5

ABOUT TEMPLE (5-3, 4-0 AAC): The Owls have scored five touchdowns on defense and that unit is led by junior linebacker Shaun Bradley (team-best 53 tackles, two interceptions) along with senior tackle Michael Dogbe (six sacks). Armstead (626 yards rushing) has missed the last two games and junior Jager Gardner gained 108 yards on 26 carries in his place the past two contests. Sophomore quarterback Anthony Russo has completed 56.5 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns along with 10 interceptions and senior Ventrell Bryant (28 catches, 395 yards in 2018) is his top target with at least one reception in 43 straight games.

ABOUT UCF (7-0, 4-0): The Knights totaled 316 yards on the ground against East Carolina with Mack rushing for a season-best 120 and sophomore Greg McCrae totaling a career-high 99 with a touchdown. If Milton is able to play, that gives the Knights’ talented receiving trio of sophomores Gabriel Davis (33 catches, 493 yards, five TDs) and Tre Nixon (27, 364, three), along with junior Dredrick Snelson (24, 310, two), more of a chance to shine. UCF has forced 18 turnovers this season and ranks third in the nation in turnover margin (plus-1.86), led by sophomore defensive back Richie Grant (team-best 58 tackles, three interceptions).


1. Bryant needs 124 receiving yards to pass Willie Marshall (2,272) for first on Temple’s all-time list.

2. UCF K Matthew Wright owns 51 career field goals and needs two to tie Shawn Moffitt for the school record.

3. The Owls beat then-No. 22 Cincinnati on Oct. 20 and faces No. 17 Houston (7-1), followed by South Florida (7-1), the next two weeks.

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Posted in CFB, Top Fantasy Picks

Tulsa Golden Hurricanes vs. Temple Owls Preview

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane will make one of the longest in-conference road trips of the season — nearly 1,300 miles — to face the Temple Owls in Philadelphia. The Thursday night kickoff means that both Tulsa and Temple will open AAC play on a short week. The Owls hope to carry over the momentum of a 35-14 win over Maryland, in which they shook off an 0-2 start to pull off a major upset, while the Golden Hurricane, also 1-2 overall, have lost two in a row after falling to Arkansas State 29-20 at home.

Tulsa at Temple

Kickoff: Thursday, Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m. ET


Spread: Temple -7

Three Things to Watch

1. Quarterback questions

Tulsa quarterback Luke Skipper wrestled the starting role away from Chad President midway through last season and entered 2018 atop the depth chart. In three starts this year, Skipper has completed 61.3 percent of his passes (up from 55.9 percent a year ago) for 521 yards and four TDs with three interceptions. He has also added 109 rushing yards and one score on 29 carries.

Skipper has held off President, a junior, and redshirt freshman Seth Boomer, but there is still some thought within the fan base that the quarterback job isn’t fully settled yet. One cause for concern is Skipper’s 6.9 yards per pass attempt, which is a sharp drop-off from the 9.0 mark (second best in the AAC) he posted in 2017.

Temple QB Frank Nutile also earned the starting nod at quarterback midway through the 2017 season, and his performance was a big reason the Owls won four of their final five games. Nutile threw for 1,600 yards with a 12-to-7 TD-to-interception ratio as a junior. He started the first two games of the 2018 season and completed 52.4 percent of his passes for 401 yards and four touchdowns with four interceptions in those two contests, but he sat out Week 3 with an undisclosed injury.

Though Nutile was shaky in losses to Villanova and Buffalo, it’s worth noting that head coach Geoff Collins reaffirmed his faith in the senior in the days leading up to the Maryland game. But it’s also worth noting that Anthony Russo performed well in Nutile’s absence. Russo completed 15-of-25 passes for 228 yards with one touchdown and one interception, and the Owls racked up 429 total yards and averaged 5.36 yards per play against its toughest opponent to date despite averaging 303 yards per game and 4.97 yards per play through Week 2. Most importantly, Russo led the team to its first win of the season.

Nutile appears likely to return against Tulsa, but it’s unclear whether or not he will start. Even if he does, because of last week’s results, Russo could force himself back into action.

2. The running backs

The questions that surround each team’s quarterback situation are nowhere to be found at running back, as both squads rely on workhorses in the backfield. Temple senior Ryquell Armstead currently ranks sixth in the AAC with 54 carries. Though he has yet to find the end zone, Armstead sits No. 7 on the conference leaderboard with 256 rushing yards after posting back-to-back 100-yard performances against Buffalo and Maryland.

Tulsa’s primary ball carrier, sophomore Shamari Brooks, has also broken the century mark twice so far. Brooks has racked up 310 yards on 70 carries — numbers that rank second and fifth in the league, respectively — and has scored four touchdowns.

3. Big plays on defense

Tulsa and Temple are very similar offensively, and though the two have also posted similar numbers in major statistical categories on defense, the largest difference has been Temple’s ability to make momentum-changing plays on the defensive side of the football.

The Owls were very disruptive on defense in the win last week. Temple held the Terrapins to just 63 passing yards on 8-for-21 passing and picked off two passes, one of which was returned 78 yards for a touchdown by Shaun Bradley. The Owls also recorded seven sacks against Maryland, including 2.5 by Michael Dogbe. Overall, Temple has forced four turnovers and ranks second in the AAC and 21st nationally with 9.0 sacks. Meanwhile, Tulsa has gotten to the quarterback just four times overall, which ranks seventh in the league and 93rd in the country. More troubling, the Golden Hurricane have yet to intercept a pass.

Temple’s big-play capabilities — and especially its pass rushing ability — could be a big factor, because the Tulsa offensive line has been shaky in non-conference play: The Golden Hurricane have surrendered eight sacks already this season.

Final Analysis

Temple visited Tulsa in the 2017 regular season and came away with a 43-22 victory, which sealed a bowl bid for the Owls. The loss was Tulsa’s tenth of the 2017 season and marked an incredible turnaround from a 10-win campaign in 2016. The Golden Hurricane entered this season with modest expectations and enter conference play with the same 1-2 record as their cross-division opponents.

Both teams have the talent to go bowling in 2018, and though Temple stumbled to a 0-2 start in non-conference play, a big win over a Big Ten team boosted confidence heading into AAC play, and the Owls should still be considered a contender in the AAC East. Temple also has a major advantage this week given the short week and Tulsa’s long trip to Philly. Throw in an edge making big plays on defense, and the Owls should start conference play 1-0.

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Posted in CFB, Top Fantasy Picks

NCAA Fantasy Football Preview

The American Athletic Conference

The time has come for college football. With a little less than two month before kickoff in Sidney, FanPicks previews the NCAA 2016 campaign. First off is the American Athletic Conference holding twelve programs on their list. The Houston Cougars came out on top, winning fourteen out of their fifteen 2015 games including the Peach bowl. They’ve stunned Florida State, who came in as the heavy favorite, to win by a score of 38-24 and take home silver football.

The American Athletic Conference last claimed the national championship in 1982, when the SMU Mustangs won it for two consecutive years. The Cincinnati Bearcats barely missed a participation to the BCS championship after recording a 12-0 season in 2009. The American Athletic Conference may not be has strong of a conference as the Big 12 or SEC, but has what it takes to make some noise as one of the five power conferences in the BCS.

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Cincinnati Bearcats Cincinnati logo

One team that may be pretty surprising going into the 2016 season is the Cincinnati Bearcats as they could make some noise in the AAC. They have a good problem right now as any one of their three quarterbacks (Hayden Moore, Ross Trail and Gunner Kiel) could win the starting job.

Connecticut Huskies Connecticut logo

Running back Arkeel Newsome led the AAC with 1,686 all-purpose yards as a sophomore, including two 100-yard rushing performances in the Huskies’ final five games.

East Carolina Pirates East Carolina logo

One of the top returning receivers in the nation, Isaiah Jones hauled in 98 passes for 1,099 yards and five touchdowns last season.

Houston Cougars Houston logo

The Cougars are coming off a breakthrough 13-1 season and Peach Bowl upset of Florida State. Dynamic dual-threat QB Greg Ward Jr. (2,828 yards and 17 TDs) should continue to develop under guru Tom Herman. He’ll have help from RB Duke Catalon and WRs Chance Allen and Isaiah Johnson.

Memphis Tigers Memphis logo

Doroland Dorceus was Memphis’ top all-around back last season, rushing for 661 yards and eight TDs while adding 217 receiving yards and three TD catches.

Navy MidshipmenNavy logo

The Navy Midshipmen had one of their best seasons in program history last year, going 11-2 and winning the Military Bowl. It was a relief for Navy’s fan to see coach Ken Niumatalolo decide to stay rather then take the offer to coach BYU this winter. Senior QB Tago Smith will have to follow in the footsteps of four-year starter Keenan Reynolds.

SMU Mustangs SMU logo

The 6-foot-4 sophomore, Courtland Sutton, is ranked fifth nationally among freshmen receivers with 862 yards and tied for the conference lead with nine TD receptions.

South Florida Bulls South Florida logo

Tailback Marlon Mack ran for a school-record 1,381 yards last year and led the conference in rushing, averaging 6.6 yards a carry with 13 runs of more than 20 yards.

Temple Owls Temple logo

QB P.J. Walker, a senior with 33 starts, holds school records for TD passes (52) and total offense (8,237 yards), and with 7,374 passing yards, he’s 121 short of the school record.

Tulane Green Wave Tulane

Former Tulane starting QB Tanner Lee has transfered to Nebraska. This means, Sherman Badie and Dontrell Hilliard, whom have both rushed for more than 600 yards in a season, should see more carries in an offense designed to run the football with multiple backs.

Tulsa Golden Hurricanes Tulsa logo

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior, Dane Evans threw 25 TDs and completed 63 percent of his passes with just eight picks. He threw for 427 yards and four TDs with no interceptions at Oklahoma.

UCF Knights UCF logo

New University of Central Florida head coach Scott Frost introduced new uniform for the team, in hopes that they can shine from the few bright spots that they’ve offered last year. Wide receiver Tre’quan Smith led the Knights in receptions (52), receiving yards (724) and receiving TDs (four) and was one of the team’s few bright spots.

Posted in CFB

College Football Week 8 Thursday Night Fantasy Picks 10-22-2015

Temple Owls versus East Carolina Pirates College Football Real Money Fantasy Picks 10-22-2015


A nice matchup from Thursday night is set as the East Carolina Pirates will face the Temple Owls on Thursday night. Fantasy college football draft GM’s can tune in from East Carolina at 7PM Eastern Time on ESPN2 TV to follow the results of their roster picks.

Temple is a perfect 6-0 on the year as they enter this Thursday night game. They have a notable win against Penn St and home and a road win at Cincinnati. The Owls have been an outstanding defensive team as they limit opponents to just 14.7 points per game.

East Carolina is 4-3 on the year. They have won three of their past four games including a 30-17 victory at home to Tulsa last week. The Pirates defense did give up 463 yards but they were outstanding on third down as the Golden Hurricane was 5 of 19.

Temple Owls RB:

Jahad Thomas

The Owls junior running back has 145 carries for 756 yards with ten touchdowns. He had a big game last Saturday at home to Central Florida where he rushed 31 times for 199 yards with three touchdowns for 6.4 yards per carry. Thomas ran for 193 yards at Cincinnati with nearly 7 ½ yards per run average.

East Carolina Pirates QB:

Blake Kemp

Kemp has completed 71% of his passes this season for 1556 yards with ten touchdowns and six picks. Two weeks ago at BYU, Kemp had 371 yards passing as he hit on 78% of his tosses with two touchdowns.

College Football Fantasy League Picks

QB: Blake Kemp (East Carolina)

RB: Jahad Thomas (Temple)

California Golden Bears versus UCLA Bruins College Football DFS Fantasy Picks 10-22-2015

A PAC 12 conference meeting is scheduled as the UCLA Bruins will host the California Golden Bears. College football draft managers can tune to ESPN TV at 9PM Eastern Time on Thursday night October 22nd to follow the results of their roster picks.

California is entering play after a bye week. The club is 5-1 and was defeated at Utah on October 10th by the score of 30-24. It was amazing that the Golden Bears were within one score of Utah as their starting quarterback Jared Goff threw five interceptions and Cal had a -3 turnover margin. The Cal defense did a good job on third down as Utah converted just 4 of 17. The Golden Bears now is 56th in scoring defense by allowing 24.5 points per game. This has been a huge improvement over the past few seasons as the Golden Bears were trending near the bottom of college football in the major defensive categories.

UCLA will enter play on a two game losing streak. They have defended poorly in a 38-22 home defeat to Arizona St and a 56-35 defeat last week to the Stanford Cardinal. The Bruins have had trouble defending the run by giving up 215 yards per game ranking 114th in the nation. The Bruins are 4-2 and with two losses their chances for a playoff spot are very slim. Plus the Bruins are 1-2 in the PAC 12 and Utah sits at 3-0. UCLA because they lost the tiebreaker to the Utes must have to make up three games in the standings to overtake Utah for the PAC 12 south title which is a scenario that is now unrealistic.

UCLA Bruins WR:

Jordan Payton

The UCLA senior wide out leads the team with 31 catches for 486 yards with four touchdowns. He has seen significant action in all four years at the school. In the loss to Stanford Payton caught six balls for 94 yards and a touchdown with 15.7 yards per catch average.

California Golden Bears QB:

Jared Goff

Goff is a junior and has started in all three years with the program. In 2015 the Golden Bears signal caller is hitting on 66.7% of his throws for 1970 yards with 17 touchdowns and 9 picks. He has thrown for over 300 yards in five of his six games. California is not just an all throw and no run team. They run the football very well which supports Goff’s weapons in the passing game.

College Football Best Fantasy League Picks

QB: Jared Goff (California)

WR: Jordan Payton (UCLA)

Posted in CFB