Athlon Sports Cover 2 College Football Podcast (sports)

We’ve reached the end of our preseason rankings debate with the Pac-12. Oregon and Stanford have ruled this league for four years, but we have a handful of reasons to wonder if that reign can continue.

Washington has a new coach and a new quarterback and may be poised to continue the progress made under Steve Sarkisian. Sark may have a contender of his own at USC, but we discuss how depth — or UCLA — may hinder the Trojans’ Pac-12 title hopes.

But Oregon and Stanford continues to be the favorites as the Athlon staff again debated between the Ducks and Cardinal to win the North and perhaps the Pac-12. We discuss where we leaning on today’s Cover 2.

We also continued a new, not-so-subtle pitch for you to get involved at sponsorus@athlonsports.com. As always, you can reach our hosts at @BradenGall, @DavidFox615 and @AthlonSteven on Twitter or at podcast@athlonsports.com.

Direct download: 2014-05-07.mp3
Category:Sports -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

The second part of our SEC rankings and preseason preview continues with the West Division, home of four of the last five national champions. The SEC West was the toughest division for Athlon Sports to pick this season, especially in the middle.

The power resides in the state of Alabama, but the team with more reason for optimism may be under debate. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are both in good position, one of the rare times both Egg Bowl rivals go into a season with high hopes.

The X-factor may be LSU, a team that has been a lock for 10 wins in recent years. The Tigers are replacing some key cogs on defense and will be young at skill positions on offense.

We also introduced a new, not-so-subtle pitch for you to get involved at sponsorus@athlonsports.com. As always, you can reach our hosts at @BradenGall @DavidFox615 and @AthlonSteven on Twitter or at podcast@athlonsports.com.

Direct download: 2014-05-06.mp3
Category:Sports -- posted at: 1:09pm CDT

Athlon’s Braden Gall and David Fox split up A-Day duties, spending time at Auburn and Alabama through each school’s spring game.

At Auburn, the fan base (and athletic director) is enjoying the rebound, but Gus Malzahn is busy at work trying to ramp up the tempo of the offense while plugging holes on defense.

At Alabama, the fans have moved on from the 0-2 finish to last season, but the losing streak exposed some cracks in leadership and culture in the Alabama locker room. Nick Saban spent the spring trying to reinforce those things.

In the spring games, both teams learned a bit about their quarterbacks. Nick Marshall may be on his way to being a standout passer while Blake Sims might not be the top guy for much longer.

Direct download: ADay_2014.mp3
Category:Sports -- posted at: 8:16pm CDT

The debate concerning preseason rankings has started around the Athlon Sports offices, and we’re giving you an inside look at all the conversations that will shape the 2014 countdown.

This week, Braden Gall, David Fox and Steven Lassan take you inside the process of the rankings meeting as they talk through the teams in the ACC.

Will anyone challenge Florida State in the Atlantic? Will Louisville be a factor in Bobby Petrino’s return? And how do we sort out the mess that is the Coastal Division?

Direct download: ACC_2014_Preview.mp3
Category:Sports -- posted at: 10:04am CDT

Athlon Sports’ annual rankings of every college football coach in the FBS posted this week. The No. 1 spot may be clear, but the rest of the rankings weren’t so easy.

Braden Gall, David Fox and Steven Lassan take you into the process of ranking every coach, explaining the criteria we used and some dissension in the ranks.

Our panel felt pretty confident about the first four, but we love the top coaches in the Big 12. Also, we explain the difficulty in ranking coaches in the 20-30 range, defend the coaches who are underrated and identify the coaches who have a chance to move up the rankings in 2015.

Direct download: FB_Coach_Ranks_2014.mp3
Category:Sports -- posted at: 9:39am CDT

Now that the NCAA Tournament is complete, the Athlon editors can take a deeper look at the upcoming college football season. The rankings discussion for the preseason magazines is in full swing as spring practice is in its final weeks.

Braden Gall, David Fox and Steven Lassan take you inside the process of the rankings meeting as they talk through the teams in the Big Ten.

Who can challenge Ohio State? Will Michigan State continue to be a contender for the title? Can teams like Michigan and Nebraska return to power house status?

Direct download: 2014_Big_Ten_Preview.mp3
Category:Sports -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

The Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast took a quick break from college football spring football previews to quickly delve into college basketball.

Before delving into picks for every game in the NCAA Tournaments, co-hosts Braden Gall and David Fox give their quick reaction to Bruce Pearl’s hire at Auburn. Pearl will undoubtedly bring interest to the Auburn basketball program, but does he immediately give Auburn the best coaching duo in the league.

Then it’s on to picks for every game in the NCAA Tournament, region by region. All the upsets and storylines for every game through the title game.

Direct download: 03-19-2014.mp3
Category:Sports -- posted at: 11:24am CDT

Preparation for the 2014 college football preview magazines has begun around the Athlon Sports offices, starting with the Big 12.

Oklahoma and Baylor separated themselves as favorites, but Braden Gall, David Fox and Steven Lassan have plenty of questions about both teams.

In the first of a series taking you inside our rankings meeting, we talk about the debates that shaped our discussion in the Big 12.

Direct download: 2014-03-13.mp3
Category:Sports -- posted at: 1:33pm CDT

The Cover 2 makes its return after a brief hiatus to talk all the big-picture news from Signing Day.

Braden Gall and David Fox explain why Alabama’s day was almost non-news and why Tennessee and Kentucky turned out to be the big winners.

Charlie Strong at Texas gave us a reason to look into recruiting in the state of Texas and whether his words about the virtues of being a “gadget program” have merit. Has Strong already fallen too far behind Coach Cool at Texas A&M?

Then, we talk about the most interesting long-term recruiting trend whether it’s USC vs. UCLA or Ohio State pulling away from the rest of the Big Ten.

Direct download: 2014-02-07.mp3
Category:Sports -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Discussing the personality differences on the big new coaches hired at Penn State, USC at Texas and how James Franklin, Steve Sarkisian and Charlie Strong will attack their respective jobs.

Franklin’s hire set off more news as he continued to recruit Vanderbilt commitments at Penn State. Should recruits be off limits when coaches move or is all fair in the recruiting game?

Lastly, Athlon Sports’ Steven Lassan makes a special appearance to pick the teams that benefited the most from the NFL Draft early entry deadline and who is losing out.

Direct download: 2014-01-16.mp3
Category:Sports -- posted at: 4:40pm CDT