FOX Sports activities Faculty Soccer Analyst
Faculty Soccer and Faculty Basketball Author
And right here we’re at Week 13.
It is the ultimate week of faculty soccer motion earlier than the perfect of the perfect head to their convention championship video games, bowl video games, and for a fortunate quartet, the Faculty Soccer Playoff. And which means there are a bunch of video games with a lot at stake.
The most important, after all, is the competition appropriately known as The Recreation — No. 3 Michigan at No. 2 Ohio State (Midday ET on Saturday; FOX and the FOX Sports activities app). This season’s model of the game’s greatest rivalry is a battle for a spot within the Huge Ten Championship Recreation, a probable spot within the CFP, and presumably even a press release on who will rule the convention transferring ahead.
However as huge as Wolverines-Buckeyes is, there are a handful of different video games that carry additionally nice that means, a few of them even impacting the CFP chase.
This is what we’re wanting ahead to watching in among the greatest matchups this weekend.
What ought to folks find out about No. 21 Tulane at No. 25 Cincinnati? (Midday ET)
Younger: This sport is all about residence–discipline benefit. The winner can have an opportunity to play for the chance to host the American Athletic Convention Championship. And until one thing wild occurs within the closing week of the common season — like UCF beating South Florida, Tulsa beating Houston and enjoyable with tiebreakers — this sport might be performed once more for the convention title sport.
Cincy has been on this place earlier than, however the Inexperienced Wave haven’t. I am watching to see how a lot — or how little — every staff leaves of their bag for a rematch every week away.
Cohen: It doesn’t imply as a lot this 12 months with a four-team playoff, however Friday’s matchup between Tulane and Cincinnati will determine the perfect staff in faculty soccer outdoors the Energy 5 conferences. The Inexperienced Wave gained eight of their first 9 video games this season as head coach Willie Fritz authored an incredible turnaround following a 2-10 end in 2021. They enter the weekend tied for twenty fifth nationally in scoring at 35.1 factors per sport, which is tied for eighth amongst Group of 5 faculties thanks largely to dual-threat quarterback Michael Pratt’s 29 complete touchdowns.
The Bearcats proceed to solidify their declare as the perfect mid-major program in faculty soccer beneath head coach Luke Fickell. That is Cincinnati’s fifth consecutive 12 months with no less than 9 wins and has an opportunity to be this system’s fourth 10-win season throughout that stretch. There are three bona fide NFL prospects value watching on Fickell’s roster primarily based on preliminary draft grades from earlier this 12 months: QB Ben Bryant (third-round grade); CB Arquon Bush (late third); TE Josh Whyle (late third).
What are you watching in No. 16 UCLA at California? (4:30 p.m. ET; FOX and the FOX Sports activities app)?
Cohen: Consecutive residence losses to Arizona and then-No. 7 USC eroded UCLA’s slim hopes of reaching the Faculty Soccer Playoff as a one-loss staff from the Pac-12, however there’s nonetheless loads the Bruins can play for. At 8-3 general, they’ve already equaled head coach Chip Kelly’s highest win complete since taking up the Bruins in 2018 and have gained no less than eight video games in consecutive seasons for the primary time since 2014-15. Ending the 12 months with a win over Cal and a win in whichever bowl the Bruins qualify for would get them to 10 wins for simply the fourth time within the final 20 years.
Zooming in, Saturday’s sport must be an appreciation for quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and tailback Zach Charbonnet, the offensive stars who fueled this system’s turnaround beneath Kelly. Thompson-Robinson enters the weekend with 10,235 profession passing yards and 1,725 profession dashing yards throughout 5 standout seasons. Charbonnet has posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons since transferring from Michigan forward of the 2021 marketing campaign.
Younger: Whereas the Bruins have misplaced the chance to play for the Pac-12 title, they have not misplaced the possibility for a memorable season.
As Michael stated, UCLA is in search of simply its fourth 10-win season in twenty years. That might go a good distance towards future recruitment and status because the Bruins put together for an eventual exit to the rather more aggressive and tradition-rich Huge Ten.
What are you wanting ahead to in No. 3 Michigan at No. 2 Ohio State (Midday ET; FOX and the FOX Sports activities app)?
Younger: I am watching to see if this 12 months’s Heisman winner emerges from this sport. An excellent efficiency by both Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud or a Willis Reed-style entrance and efficiency from Blake Corum could be proper on cue.
The Buckeyes are usually not solely seeking to avenge their first loss to the Wolverines since 2011 however to revive its fame as a tricky and bodily staff after being referred to as “a finesse staff” — learn: gentle — by former Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis final 12 months.
Cohen: It’s laborious to look past the well being of Corum after he dropped out of final week’s win over Illinois with an obvious knee harm. Corum ranks fifth nationally in dashing with 1,457 yards and is tied for second in dashing touchdowns with 18. For pretty much as good because the Wolverines’ offensive line has been in incomes a second consecutive nomination for the Joe Moore Award, it’s Corum’s mix of sorcerous soar cuts and lightning-strike acceleration that present the requisite pop. There are solely six tailbacks in faculty soccer with extra 40-yard runs than Corum (4) this season.
In a broader sense, no matter success Michigan has operating the ball in opposition to Ohio State — or, conversely, a possible lack thereof — will shed some gentle on whether or not Buckeyes’ head coach Ryan Day succeeded in closing the toughness hole between the 2 packages after final 12 months’s walloping within the trenches. All season, Day has spoken concerning the method of his staff’s loss at Michigan Stadium hovering over this system like a darkish cloud. Can Ohio State reply by profitable on the line of scrimmage?
The Recreation: Ohio State, Michigan to sq. off
RJ Younger is joined by Geoff Schwartz to preview the largest sport of the faculty soccer season.
What are you curious to see in No. 12 Oregon at No. 23 Oregon State (3:30 p.m. ET)?
Cohen: Oregon’s hard-fought, 20-17 win over then-No. 10 Utah final week put head coach Dan Lanning’s staff within the driver’s seat for a possible berth within the Pac-12 title sport. The Geese and the Trojans from USC are the one Pac-12 faculties with a single convention loss this season and seem destined to fulfill for the league’s championship in Las Vegas subsequent weekend. The 2 packages didn’t play one another within the common season.
The ultimate hurdle between Oregon and a visit to Las Vegas is an bettering Oregon State squad led by fifth-year head coach Jonathan Smith. The Beavers’ 8-3 report this season already represents their highest win complete since ending 9-4 in 2012 beneath former head coach Mike Riley. Oregon State has crushed its in-state rival simply twice within the final 14 years and has solely notched 11 wins within the series since 1975. The Geese preserve a commanding all-time lead of 67-48-10 for the reason that sport was first performed in 1894.
Younger: Oregon State can inch nearer to securing its first 10-win season since 2006 with a win in opposition to their in-state rival.
For Jonathan Smith and the Beavers, a win right here could be pivotal in positioning them for an excellent season in 2023 and set them up as a pressure to be reckoned with within the new Pac-12 — Pac-10 once more? — within the years after USC and UCLA depart.
For the Geese, it is about attending to the Pac-12 title sport in opposition to USC. However that’s solely a certainty if Oregon beats Oregon State.
What’s value watching in Iowa State at No. 4 TCU (4 p.m. ET; FOX and the FOX Sports activities app)?
Younger: The Horned Frogs cannot afford a letdown right here in the event that they wish to hold their hopes of taking part in for a nationwide title alive. They have to be excellent.
To do this, although, the Horned Frogs should beat the worst staff within the Huge 12 in Cyclones, who additionally occurred to beat maybe the perfect staff within the Huge Ten West in Iowa.
I count on a slobber knocker.
Cohen: Very similar to Michigan might be racing in opposition to the clock to get Corum and backup tailback Donovan Edwards wholesome in time for kickoff, TCU is monitoring the standing of its star operating again, Kendre Miller, in addition to standout vast receiver Quentin Johnston — each of whom dropped out of final week’s come-from-behind, last-second win over Baylor.
Head coach Sonny Dykes stated Miller absorbed a strong hit within the third quarter and was faraway from the sport for what gave the impression of precautionary causes “to verify he was in good condition.” However Dykes additionally revealed that Miller, who has rushed for 1,188 yards and 14 touchdowns, is coping with multiple harm concern.
Johnston’s scenario sounded a bit extra severe when Dykes was requested about it earlier this week. The focus of TCU’s passing sport has battled accidents for the higher a part of a month, Dykes stated, and usually solely practices within the final couple of days of a given week. The present downside is what Dykes described as “a fairly good ankle sprain” that would inhibit Johnston’s explosiveness this weekend. A possible first-round choose, Johnston has 49 catches for 764 yards and 5 touchdowns this season.
How about No. 6 LSU at Texas A&M (7 p.m. ET)?
Cohen: The choice committee’s choice to raise LSU (9-2, 6-1 SEC) to fifth within the newest CFP rankings suggests the Tigers are in pole place to doubtlessly leap into the highest 4 when one of many remaining undefeated groups suffers a loss. And with No. 2 Ohio State internet hosting No. 3 Michigan this weekend, the leapfrog might occur as quickly as Tuesday relying on how lopsided the rating in Columbus seems to be. The committee’s message appears clear: If LSU beats Texas A&M this week and beats Georgia within the SEC title sport, then the Tigers are going to the playoff.
And there shouldn’t be a lot resistance from an embarrassing Texas A&M that snapped a six-game shedding streak by squeaking previous UMass — arguably the worst staff in faculty soccer — in a barren stadium final week. The fan base has turned on head coach Jimbo Fisher though his $86 million buyout makes it a digital certainty that he’ll be again once more in 2023. The Tigers ought to win this one comfortably to arrange a titanic conflict with Georgia.
Younger: Now could be an impressive time for the Aggies to place their prodigious expertise to good use. And that is the disgrace of A&M.
The Aggies are a extra gifted staff than LSU, however they haven’t performed prefer it. For LSU, it is an opportunity to indicate the CFP committee was not incorrect to rank them forward of one-loss USC or Clemson and vindicate The Fits with a giant win forward of their date with Georgia within the SEC title sport.
Week 13 CFP Rankings: LSU makes a push
RJ Younger reacts to the not too long ago launched CFP rankings for Week 13.
What pursuits you most in No. 18 Notre Dame at No. 7 USC (7:30 p.m. ET)?
Younger: No person has had extra ups and downs this season than the Combating Irish. They’ve confirmed able to beating the ACC champion — whether or not that’s North Carolina or Clemson — and of shedding to Marshall at residence.
Nonetheless, they’ve put collectively a technique that works and might work in opposition to USC — run the ball and play excellent protection.
If the Irish can do this, they will knock off USC and sure slam the door shut on the Pac-12’s CFP hopes. For USC, the Trojans want an impressive win to place themselves to be the fourth staff in if Ohio State, Michigan, TCU or Clemson falters within the closing week of standard season play or the convention title sport.
Cohen: How concerning the second-half resurgence at Notre Dame? The Combating Irish have been left for useless after a season-opening loss to Ohio State gave strategy to unpleasant residence stumbles in opposition to Marshall and Stanford. Head coach Marcus Freeman’s staff gained simply three of its first six video games to tumble out of the nationwide rankings by mid-October. Since then, Notre Dame has tallied 5 consecutive wins over UNLV, No. 16 Syracuse, No. 4 Clemson, Navy and Boston Faculty to re-enter the CFP rankings and climb all the way in which to fifteenth within the newest ballot. Ohio State’s greatest non-conference win of the season is wanting higher and higher, which could possibly be an necessary issue if the Buckeyes lose to Michigan and have to face on a one-loss resume.
The Trojan discovered themselves ranked sixth on this week’s rankings behind the presumptive high 4 of Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and TCU with a shock from the committee at No. 5 in two-loss LSU. Most assumed USC could be the staff in faculty soccer’s model of the on-deck circle following a formidable street win over UCLA final weekend. However the Trojans nonetheless have two probabilities for high-profile wins in opposition to Notre Dame after which whichever staff they face within the Pac-12 title sport.
Previewing Notre Dame-USC and extra
RJ Younger is joined by Geoff Schwartz to preview two of the largest matchups in Week 13 — Notre Dame-USC and Oregon-Oregon State.
And eventually, what catches your eye in Kansas at No. 15 Kansas State (8 p.m. ET; FOX and the FOX Sports activities app)?
Cohen: Kansas athletic director Travis Goff was so happy with the work Lance Leipold has performed in reviving the soccer program that he gave his head coach a second contract extension within the span of two months. The Jayhawks first prolonged Leipold’s contract in September, committing themselves to him via 2027, after which added two extra years in a second extension agreed upon earlier this week. The 58-year-old Leipold has already guided Kansas (6-5, 3-5 Huge 12) to bowl eligibility for the primary time since 2008 when former coach Mark Mangino elevated this system to nationwide relevance by profitable 33 video games in a four-year stretch.
A little bit of wind whistled out of Kansas State’s sails with two losses in its final 5 video games that dropped the general report to 8-3 after a 6-1 begin. However the Wildcats nonetheless have a practical likelihood of ending the 12 months with 10 wins by beating the Jayhawks and popping out on high in an eventual bowl sport. That’s one thing the Ok-State program hasn’t performed since 2012 beneath legendary former coach Invoice Snyder.
Younger: In what has been a dream season for Kansas, what higher strategy to end it than to knock their in-state rival out of an opportunity to play for a convention title? That’s what Lance Leipold’s Jayhawks can do on Saturday.
For the Wildcats, it’s so simple as profitable, and also you’re taking part in for the league title. That, in and of itself, is motivation sufficient.
Michael Cohen covers faculty soccer and basketball for FOX Sports activities with an emphasis on the Huge Ten. Comply with him on Twitter at @Michael_Cohen13.
RJ Younger is a nationwide faculty soccer author and analyst for FOX Sports activities and the host of the podcast “The Quantity One Faculty Soccer Present.” Comply with him on Twitter at @RJ_Young and subscribe to “The RJ Younger Present” on YouTube.
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Publish date: 2022-11-24 17:20:41
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