We’ve made it to the ultimate week of faculty soccer’s 2022 common season.
The remaining week all the time brings rivalries to the forefront and this season age-old matchups will dictate what occurs within the College Football Playoff area.
A spot is reserved within the CFP for the winner of The Game between Michigan and Ohio State as soon as once more. Since the Wolverines took down C.J. Stroud and the Buckeyes final season to earn a spot within the playoff, revenge can be on the minds of everybody in Columbus.
Another doable playoff spot is on the road Saturday evening in L.A. as USC hosts Notre Dame. The Trojans are the Pac-12’s greatest likelihood on the CFP however first should get previous a Fighting Irish staff that has received 5 video games in a row and aiming for a New Year’s Six bowl.
Clemson hosts South Carolina after the Gamecocks put collectively their greatest efficiency of the season towards Tennessee final week whereas a low stakes Iron Bowl hits Alabama.
Tulane and Cincinnati meet with a spot within the American Athletic Conference title sport up for grabs and Oregon and Oregon State conflict in a ranked matchup.
These are the important thing storylines forward of the ultimate week of the common season.
There have solely been 11 different matchups between these two groups with each ranked within the high 5 and in 5 of these 11 video games, the winner both went on to the playoff, a berth within the BCS nationwide championship sport or received the nationwide championship.
To say the stakes are excessive is an understatement. Both groups know what’s on the road. Although there was some trash discuss and vitriol up to now, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is taking a special strategy to this 12 months’s sport.
“We’re very grateful to be in this position to be playing in this game. Winner takes the East, winner takes all right there,” Harbaugh stated. “So, strong opponent, and it’s the kind of situation that gives you the opportunity to display how strong our team is. There’s no need to hate, be grateful for the opponent. It’s like superheroes, it’s through a strong opponent you get to find out who you are.”
There may not be a lot bulletin board materials this week for both staff, however Ohio State has not forgotten the previous. After Michigan received The Game final season, then offensive coordinator Josh Gattis stated on the radio that Ohio State was extra of a finesse staff and never a troublesome staff.
Ohio State coach Ryan Day stated this is not the place or time to speak about what was stated up to now, however tight finish Cade Stover made it very clear, he’s going to make use of these phrases as motivation.
“I really don’t give a s— what anyone outside this program says about our toughness,” Stover stated Tuesday. “We know what we’ve got.”
Both groups are undefeated and have Heisman-caliber gamers, however each groups are additionally coping with key accidents.
For Michigan, star working again Blake Corum was injured towards Illinois, however instructed Detroit News reporter Angelique Chengelis that he ought to be good to go for the sport. The Buckeyes have accidents within the backfield as properly with Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson each banged up, however freshman Dallan Hayden stepped in towards Maryland and rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns.
Neither coach had an replace on their accidents, however neither appeared too involved about their staff or its well being.
Day is aware of irrespective of who’s on the sphere, they are going to be motivated by the loss from final season and each groups will deliver their greatest Saturday. Day stated he did not need to put an excessive amount of on his gamers concerning implications of this sport, however he has reminded them of what they felt like after the loss to the Wolverines final season.
“I think you’re shaped by whatever’s happened in your past and we have scars and it motivated us all offseason,” Day stated. “So, we’ve worked very hard to get to this moment right here, and now it’s time to go prepare the best we can and that’s what we’re going to focus on physically, mentally and emotionally to go play the hardest game we’ve ever played. And we’ll find out where we’re at on Saturday.” — Tom VanHaaren
Billed on the best intersectional rivalry in faculty soccer, USC and Notre Dame enter the competition with each groups ranked for the primary time since 2017.
The Trojans, who moved as much as No. 6 in Tuesday’s CFP rankings, have a practical path to their first playoff look, however not if they cannot beat Notre Dame, which has received 5 straight since a shocking house loss to Stanford.
“Enjoy being in this moment, enjoy competing at this level,” USC coach Lincoln Riley stated of his message to the gamers. “Our team gets excited to play teams like this, there is no question about it. It’s fun playing really good competition in cool venues with a lot of things on the line. That is so much fun, so embrace it.”
The Heisman Trophy might be on the road for USC quarterback Caleb Williams, who helped his candidacy with a career-best 470-yard passing efficiency final week at UCLA. Williams has accounted for 40 touchdowns (33 go, 7 rush) in 11 video games for USC, serving to the nation’s No. 2 offense eclipse 40 factors in 5 consecutive video games.
But he hasn’t confronted many defenses as gifted and sound as Notre Dame’s, which ranks sixteenth nationally towards the go.
“They have good players at all levels,” Riley stated. “They’ve built a talent base. When their backups come in, there are still a lot of talented guys on that field.”
Both groups have elite defensive ends. Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey has 5.5 sacks in his previous 5 video games and lately grew to become the college’s profession sacks chief (25). USC’s Tuli Tuipulotu is a nationwide defensive participant of the 12 months candidate with 11.5 sacks, tying him for first nationally.
“He’s a powerful, athletic defensive end; he can beat you up physically and also use his athletic ability to get around you as an offensive lineman,” Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees instructed ESPN. “They put him in really good spots, try to single him up. We’ve got to do our part to make sure we’re sound in our protections.”
Rees believes Notre Dame’s offensive line, which entered the season with lofty expectations however struggled early, is enjoying at the next stage than any group within the nation. Notre Dame has successfully used working backs Audric Estime, Logan Diggs and Chris Tyree and eclipsed 220 dashing yards in 4 of the previous 5 video games.
USC ranks 96th nationally in yards allowed however has excelled in takeaways, main the nation with 18 interceptions. The Trojans’ turnover margin — 25 takeaways, 4 giveaways — leads the FBS by a large margin.
Rees, who went 2-1 towards USC as Notre Dame’s beginning quarterback, stated decision-making from present QB Drew Pyne, and the Irish’s means to guard him, can be key in limiting the errors which have doomed USC’s opponents. Pyne is averaging solely 170.3 passing yards per sport however has thrown 19 touchdowns and solely 5 interceptions, avoiding any video games with a number of picks this season.
“He’s 8-1 as the starting quarterback at Notre Dame, and he’s done a lot of good things to help our program win games,” Rees stated. “Anyone else’s opinion or narrative is kind of nonsense to me. The job of the quarterback is to win football games. He’s extremely confident, and I’m excited for him to get a chance out there in L.A.”
After dropping eight straight to USC from 2002 by 2009, Notre Dame has received 4 in a row and eight of the groups’ previous 11 conferences. — Adam Rittenberg
The apparent query following South Carolina’s 63-38 win over then-No. 5 Tennessee final week, a sport during which QB Spencer Rattler threw extra touchdowns (six) than he had in seven prior SEC video games mixed (5), was what the heck occurred?
Surely, South Carolina discovered a magic method by rewriting the sport plan, throwing out the playbook and changing it with some sorcerer’s spells with a view to comply with up a completely mediocre season with a shocking upset. Per week earlier, the Gamecocks managed simply 237 yards and 6 factors in a loss to 6-5 Florida.
So, what is the secret?
“We called a lot of the same stuff we have all year,” South Carolina coach Shane Beamer stated. “If anything, there was less in the game plan. But [Rattler] played with a lot of confidence and he was very poised and knew where to go with the ball.”
South Carolina churned out a historic efficiency towards a top-five staff by merely doing what it is all the time finished — and simply did it higher than standard.
If that appears illogical, maybe it is best to step into the time machine and journey again to August 2021. Rattler was the QB at Oklahoma, a preseason Heisman favourite and a close to unanimous choose to be the primary general choose within the 2022 NFL draft. The man was unquestionably gifted.
But then Rattler’s season went haywire, he was benched and ultimately he transferred to South Carolina. His new house afforded solely minimal respite, and he struggled to recreate the large numbers he’d posted in 2020 that had made him a scout’s dream.
Rather than assume Rattler was merely overrated or misplaced his contact, think about when the items match and all of it clicked towards Tennessee. Suddenly, the man everybody liked 15 months in the past was again.
“He made some throws you just can’t defend,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney stated. “You go back and look and some, there was that much” — Swinney holds two fingers separated by six inches — “that much room between a touchdown catch and an incompletion.”
If it looks like a protracted shot, simply think about the QB Rattler will face on this week’s rivalry sport towards Clemson.
Back in August 2021, DJ Uiagalelei was a man with actual Heisman hopes, too, and together with his huge arm, he seemed like an apparent NFL prospect. But like Rattler, his 2021 season went off the rails as Clemson tried to seek out the correct supporting solid, Uiagalelei battled accidents and doubt and criticism grew to become the soundtrack to a misplaced season.
Uiagalelei did not switch like Rattler did. Instead, Swinney spent an offseason praising the QB. The consequence was a stable rebound season that, whereas removed from Heisman-worthy, has stored the Tigers within the playoff hunt. Still, Uiagalelei sees the parallels.
“I don’t want to talk about anyone else’s journey,” Uiagalelei stated, “but he’s done a great job of just sticking to being the person he is and playing his game and not listening to the outside noise.”
For each, the highs might have been a bit overvalued. But the lows — properly, QBs have a manner of being drug deep into the mire when issues go dangerous.
“He gets that, but he’s been a fantastic teammate and a fantastic leader,” Beamer stated of Rattler. “I told him the other day, and I think you can say the same thing about DJ — DJ’s the starting quarterback and he’s won 10 football games. With Spencer, too, he’s done a lot of positive things this year. It might not be the year he wanted statistically, but he’s won a lot of football games and done a lot of things for us as a program already.”
Perhaps Rattler and Uiagalelei won’t ever stay as much as the expectations many had earlier than the beginning of final season, however 2022 has been, unquestionably, a reminder that each are immensely gifted.
“Both have had some ups and downs, but DJ’s really played well for us,” Swinney stated. “He’s a winner, a great leader and an unbelievably committed guy. And Spencer, I’ve got a lot of respect for him as a player. He’s got all the tools.”
Rattler and Uiagalelei had been each requested this week about their futures in faculty soccer. Both can return for 2023 with hopes of constructing on the steps ahead they’ve taken this 12 months. Or they may go away, strive their luck within the NFL draft, hope to show folks improper once more on the subsequent stage.
There’s most likely no easy reply for both one. The path is not almost so clear as it would’ve appeared 15 months in the past.
But Saturday’s Palmetto Bowl will enable at the very least certainly one of them so as to add one other chapter to their private redemption tales.
“I wanted to come here and win a lot of big games,” Rattler stated after Saturday’s win over Tennessee. “We’ve been doing that. And we’ve still got games to finish out.” — David Hale
CFP choice committee chair Boo Corrigan explains why it has Clemson ranked behind Alabama.
There’s no such factor as an inconsequential Iron Bowl. Just ask the parents who stay within the state or the coaches and gamers who’ve been part of certainly one of faculty soccer’s fiercest rivalries.
But this Iron Bowl will tackle a special really feel Saturday. For one, it is the primary time since 2007 that the sport hasn’t had direct College Football Playoff or BCS nationwide championship sport implications. Alabama has already misplaced two regular-season video games and is out of the playoff chase. This is the primary time Alabama has gone into this sport with two regular-season losses since 2010.
It’s been a tumultuous season for Auburn, and the Tigers are simply making an attempt to turn out to be bowl-eligible. But it has been a special Auburn staff these previous three video games beneath interim coach and former star working again Cadillac Williams. Auburn, enjoying with renewed life, has received two straight video games on the heels of a 39-33 extra time loss to Mississippi State beneath Williams, who took over when Bryan Harsin was fired on Oct. 31.
Auburn working again Tank Bigsby stated Williams is teaching the entire staff with the “same energy” that he coached the working backs earlier than being named interim head coach.
“If you know Coach Cadillac, he didn’t change because he was the head coach,” Bigsby stated.
One factor that has modified beneath Williams is an Auburn working sport that has gone from sporadic to dynamic. The Tigers have rushed for greater than 250 yards in every of their previous three video games and averaged 5.4 yards per rush. Auburn has had a 100-yard rusher in every of its three video games beneath Williams, and Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter have every rushed for 100 yards up to now two video games, wins over Western Kentucky and Texas A&M.
Alabama has been one of many hardest groups within the nation to run the ball towards this season, particularly these groups which are one-dimensional. The Crimson Tide are tied for eighth nationally in dashing yards per try allowed (3.1). But in 4 completely different SEC video games, they allowed greater than 180 yards on the bottom, and one of many issues to observe on this sport is whether or not or not Auburn quarterback Robby Ashford can loosen up the Alabama protection by having success working. LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels rushed for 95 yards, together with a 25-yard landing run in extra time, within the Tigers’ 32-31 win.
The Crimson Tide received in 4 overtimes a 12 months in the past towards the Tigers, and quarterback Bryce Young rallied the Tide from a 10-0 deficit. They drove 97 yards for a landing late in regulation to drive the 4 overtimes and a 24-22 Alabama win. It’s a sport that modified the trajectories of each groups. Alabama went on to win the SEC championship and play within the nationwide championship sport. Auburn and Harsin by no means actually recovered, as Harsin was the topic of a university-directed investigation a bit of greater than a month later earlier than being fired in October.
And whereas there will not be a nationwide championship alternative down the street for Alabama this season, no one wants to elucidate the stakes to Nick Saban. As he is stated a number of occasions, when you do not win this sport, no matter the rest you’ve got completed, there’s all the time a however.
Of course, the backdrop to this sport will heart on the man who will not be teaching on both sideline. Loads of indicators are pointing to Ole Miss‘ Lane Kiffin being named Auburn’s head coach as early as Sunday.
Just the considered Saban and Kiffin in the identical state is sufficient to boost even the spiciest of rivalries. — Chris Low
On some stage, it feels just like the Ducks are making a winded, however valiant dash to the end line. But if that is the case — after an in depth loss to Washington and an in depth win towards Utah — perhaps the motivation of a regional rivalry sport is precisely what Oregon wants to make sure it performs at the very least another significant sport within the Pac-12 championship. A win and the Ducks are in.
Oregon State will arrive simply as motivated. The Beavers have quietly put collectively a incredible season beneath head coach Jonathan Smith. Take the blowout loss to Utah in Salt Lake City away they usually’ve misplaced their different two video games by a mixed six factors. At 8-3, it is going to be straightforward for Oregon Stage to match the Ducks’ motivation regardless of not having a visit to the title sport on the road. Since 2003, Oregon State has solely received 9 video games in an everyday season as soon as.
And whereas the story for the Ducks this season has principally been their offense, it is their protection that comes into this sport with some momentum. As Smith famous earlier this week, Oregon’s protection shut down a great offense in Utah final week throughout what was a troublesome, low-scoring affair.
“They’re explosive on offense, and we know we’re not going to win this game 3-0, or going into it we don’t think so,” Smith stated. “But then you get into these games and each game is a little bit different.”
One of the anchors of that explosive Ducks’ offense led by quarterback Bo Nix has been beginning heart Alex Forsyth, who missed the Utah sport resulting from a proper shoulder damage. Oregon coach Dan Lanning didn’t shed a lot gentle on whether or not Forsyth would be capable to play on this week’s sport.
“It’s that time of year when you’re banged up and you’re hurting and it’s not Week 1 anymore,” Lanning stated.
If Oregon is limping to the end line, it feels just like the Beavers are catching their stride, which can doubtless make this a good matchup. And what higher approach to cap off Smith’s turnaround of this system in Corvallis than with a signature win towards Oregon State’s most hated rival. Potentially protecting them out of the Pac-12 championship? That would simply be icing on high of the cake. — Paolo Uggetti
Cincinnati followers have been clamoring for a change at quarterback for some time now.
Well, they could get what they requested for at an attention-grabbing time — through the regular-season finale towards Tulane with a visit to the American Athletic Conference championship sport on the road.
So far, there’s been no determination on whether or not beginning quarterback Ben Bryant can be prepared after he suffered a foot damage throughout final week’s win at Temple. He left the game in the second half and returned to the sideline on crutches.
Following in Desmond Ridder‘s footsteps was by no means going to be straightforward, however Bryant has fallen wanting expectations. For one, he isn’t as expert a runner as Ridder, checking in with minus-118 dashing yards this season. And whereas he is been stable general within the passing sport (21 touchdowns, seven interceptions), he hasn’t been a real difference-maker, rating seventh within the AAC in QBR (57.4) and fifth in yards (2,732).
So, naturally, followers have been questioning about his backup, Evan Prater, one of the crucial sought-after recruits in program historical past and a participant who has the flexibility to run the soccer when known as upon.
Before the Temple sport, the previous four-star prospect had performed solely sparingly, finishing 6 of 8 go makes an attempt for 111 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. But, throughout that point, he carried the ball 9 occasions for 89 yards and a landing.
Then, Prater got here on towards Temple and seemed good, finishing 12 of 17 passes for 127 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. He additionally ran 9 occasions for twenty-four yards.
Afterward, Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell praised Prater, saying he did a great job of what he was requested to do. As the sport progressed, Fickell stated coaches gave him extra alternatives.
“I thought he moved around the pocket really well and delivered some really good balls,” he stated.
Against a stout Tulane secondary that offers up solely 189.5 passing yards per sport, Prater’s means to combine issues up as a runner might turn out to be useful. UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee rushed for 176 yards towards the Green Wave just a few weeks in the past; Tulane is giving up an AAC-high 4.03 yards per rush to quarterbacks this season.
On Tuesday, Fickell did not tip his hand about who would begin at quarterback. He stated they’re “optimistic” about Bryant’s restoration however they will not know his availability till nearer to sport time.
“If [Bryant is] able to do it, then you know what, we could go that direction,” he stated. “But, we got to have preparations in both ways.” — Alex Scarborough
Clinching eventualities for Week 13
Spots already clinched
• ACC: Clemson and North Carolina
• Big 12: TCU
• Pac-12: USC
• Conference USA: UTSA
• Sun Belt: Coastal Carolina
•Texas clinches with a win vs Baylor AND Kansas State loss vs Kansas. There’s a 12% likelihood the Longhorns attain the Big 12 championship sport, in line with ESPN Analytics.
• The winner of Saturday’s Michigan-Ohio State sport wins the East. According to ESPN Analytics, there is a 71% likelihood the Buckeyes attain the Big Ten championship sport (29% for the Wolverines).
• Iowa clinches the West with a win vs Nebraska OR losses by Illinois (at Northwestern) and Purdue (at Indiana). According to ESPN Analytics, there’s an 84% likelihood the Hawkeyes attain the Big Ten championship sport.
• Purdue clinches the West with a win at Indiana AND Iowa loss to Nebraska. There’s a 12% likelihood the Boilermakers attain the Big Ten championship sport, in line with ESPN Analytics.
• Illinois clinches the West with a win at Northwestern AND losses by Iowa (vs Nebraska) and Purdue (at Indiana).
• Utah clinches with a win at Colorado AND losses by Oregon (at Oregon State), Washington State (vs Washington) and California (vs UCLA). According to ESPN Analytics, there is a 15% likelihood the Utes attain the Pac-12 championship sport.
• Washington clinches with a win at Washington State AND (1) losses by Oregon (at Oregon State) and Utah (at Colorado) or (2) losses by Oregon (at Oregon State) and UCLA (at California).
• The winner of the Tulane-Cincinnati sport on Friday clinches a spot within the American championship sport.
• UCF clinches a spot within the American championship sport with a win at South Florida.
• Even with a loss, Tulane clinches a spot within the American championship sport with a UCF loss at South Florida.
• If Houston wins and Cincinnati and UCF loses, the tie between the Bearcats and Cougars can be damaged by composite pc rankings (Cincinnati is at the moment properly forward of Houston in these rankings)
• North Texas clinches with a win vs Rice OR Western Kentucky loss at Florida Atlantic. According to ESPN Analytics, there is a 91% likelihood the Mean Green attain the Conference USA championship sport.
• Western Kentucky clinches with a win at Florida Atlantic AND North Texas loss vs Rice. According to ESPN Analytics, there is a 9% likelihood the Hilltoppers attain the Conference USA championship sport.
• South Alabama clinches the West with a win vs Old Dominion AND Troy loss at Arkansas State. According to ESPN Analytics, there is a 25% likelihood the Jaguars attain the Sun Belt championship sport.