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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Faculty soccer Week 12 – A information to the most important video games

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It is the penultimate week of faculty soccer’s common season and the Pac-12 takes heart stage.

The Battle for L.A. between USC and UCLA has been anticipated all season. If the convention desires to have any Faculty Soccer Playoff hope, the Trojans should beat the Bruins on Saturday, then defeat Notre Dame and win the convention title sport. Regardless of a UCLA loss to Arizona final week, the Bruins would love nothing greater than preserving their crosstown rival out of the playoff.

Oregon and Utah will even meet with Pac-12 championship sport hopes on the road. After the Geese and Utes performed in final season’s convention title sport, a loss for both group will eradicate them from this yr’s championship.

Elsewhere, three of the highest 4 groups within the CFP rankings have exams that would shake up the playoff image forward of the final week of the common season. Georgia heads to Kentucky seeking to defend its No. 1 rating whereas TCU travels to Baylor in one of many Large 12’s fiercest rivalries. And Michigan hosts upstart Illinois, which regardless of a loss final week is experiencing considered one of its finest seasons in current reminiscence.

These are the highest storylines head into Week 12.


No. 7 USC (9-1) at No. 16 UCLA (8-2) (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, Fox)

What may have been the primary top-10 matchup between USC and UCLA since Troy Aikman and Rodney Peete had been below heart in 1988 will now must accept one thing rather less flashy: a battle between the No. 7 Trojans and No. 16 Bruins after Arizona upset UCLA final week.

With two of the highest offenses within the nation attending to tee off in opposition to two defenses which were inconsistent, at finest, there will probably be loads of factors and lots nonetheless on the road for each groups. A win will get USC into the Pac-12 championship and retains the Trojans’ Faculty Soccer Playoff hopes alive; a win for UCLA means it nonetheless has a shot on the Pac-12 title.

“When each groups are good and there are a whole lot of alternatives forward for each groups, it makes it manner, manner higher,” USC coach Lincoln Riley, who will make his first look within the rivalry, mentioned this week.

On Tuesday, he added: “We’re not doing something actually too particular with this rivalry and that is to not low cost it in any manner. I believe we have acknowledged that this sport in some methods goes to really feel totally different.”

If the Trojans, with over 40 transfers who have not had a style of the crosstown matchup, are taking a extra simple strategy to Saturday’s sport, then UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson — who Riley remembers dealing with at Oklahoma when Kyler Murray was his quarterback — is doing the alternative and never mincing any phrases in terms of USC.

“Clearly we hate these guys throughout city,” he mentioned on Monday.

This will probably be DTR’s fifth rivalry sport in opposition to USC since arriving in Westwood, the fourth one he has starred in.

Although the Bruins’ prepare has slowed a bit previously few weeks, Thompson-Robinson’s rampant goodbye tour by way of the Pac-12 hasn’t misplaced steam. He has been vocal about what groups he wished to beat in his final season with the Bruins and has mentioned he remembers when USC final beat UCLA on the Rose Bowl and gamers “cursed” at them and “flipped them off.” It is a part of why, as he put it, he desires to attain 60 once more like he did final season in a stunning, six-touchdown efficiency.

Most USC gamers mentioned Tuesday they hadn’t seen Thompson-Robinson’s feedback, or given them any thought. However when knowledgeable of the quarterback’s objective to attain 60 factors once more on the Trojans, defensive again Calen Bullock chuckled and mentioned. “I do know that is not gonna occur.”

Whether or not it is a fifth-year senior who grew up watching the L.A. rivalry and is now enjoying it for the final time, or a brand-new coach or switch who’s making an attempt to deal with the matchup like simply one other sport, come Saturday, the motivation to win would be the identical. — Paolo Uggetti


No. 10 Utah (8-2) at No. 12 Oregon (8-2) (Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

Every week after squandering its playoff hopes following a heartbreaking loss to rival Washington at residence, Oregon will attempt to get well with an arguably more durable matchup. The No. 12 Geese welcome the No. 10 Utes, who’ve two losses (by a mixed 13 factors) however are enjoying a few of their finest soccer the previous few weeks.

A lot was mentioned about Dan Lanning’s determination to go for a fourth down late within the sport with Bo Nix on the sideline (even Lanning mentioned this week he needs he would have known as a timeout), however the true Achilles’ heel for the Geese’ final sport was their struggling protection, which has given up a median of 34 factors to ranked opponents this season. In opposition to the Utes — whose offense may not be as explosive as Washington’s however has been loads efficient — that may as soon as once more be the problem.

The X issue of that Utes offense will probably be tight finish Dalton Kincaid, who torched the inconsistent USC protection however missed the sport in opposition to Arizona two weeks in the past after struggling a shoulder harm in opposition to Washington State. Kincaid (who’s averaging 13 yards per catch) performed a restricted quantity of snaps in opposition to Stanford final week and his standing for this week’s matchup continues to be in flux.

“He is nonetheless not one hundred pc, there’s some soreness,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham mentioned. “However he is loads additional forward right this moment than he was final Monday.”

Whittingham additionally heaped reward on Nix, who, regardless of the loss final Saturday, nonetheless had three touchdowns and accomplished 70% of his cross makes an attempt. Nix nonetheless has a shot at maybe leaping again into the Heisman dialog with one other huge sport, particularly if Oregon wins out. And the Geese have to.

Very like each L.A. colleges enjoying on a giant Saturday for the Pac-12, each Oregon and Utah are nonetheless in rivalry for the Pac-12 championship and subsequently, the Rose Bowl. The group on the dropping finish should wave goodbye to each. — Uggetti


No. 1 Georgia (10-0) at Kentucky (6-4) (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

It wasn’t too way back that this sport regarded prefer it could possibly be considered one of Georgia’s most daunting challenges in getting by way of the common season unbeaten.

That was earlier than Kentucky quarterback Will Levis was injured, earlier than it grew to become obvious that Kentucky merely could not defend Levis and earlier than Levis noticed his struggles go from dangerous to worse.

Georgia, 10-0 and ranked No. 1 within the Faculty Soccer Playoff rankings, is second nationally in scoring protection, permitting 11.6 factors per sport. The Dawgs have allowed simply 9 touchdowns on protection, and three of these got here within the fourth quarter when the result was all however determined. Kentucky, in the meantime, has scored greater than 21 factors on offense in opposition to an SEC opponent solely as soon as — a 27-17 win over Mississippi State. Within the Wildcats’ previous three video games, they’ve managed a complete of 5 touchdowns.

In different phrases, this one appears to be like like a mismatch, no less than on paper, particularly with Kentucky limping into the sport having misplaced to Vanderbilt 24-21 final week at residence. The Commodores had misplaced 26 straight SEC video games earlier than knocking off the Wildcats.

“Not sufficient hype. Not sufficient juice. We talked about it amongst us all week, and we didn’t purchase into it,” Levis mentioned following the Vanderbilt loss.

Kentucky was ranked No. 20 within the AP preseason ballot, and expectations had been hovering after the Wildcats gained 10 video games a yr in the past. And whereas the protection has performed effectively sufficient in most video games to offer them an opportunity to win, the offense has been notably sloppy within the purple zone (ranked 99th nationally) and stopped itself repeatedly with sacks, penalties and turnovers.

“We’re transferring the ball and doing good issues, however we’re not stepping into the tip zone,” Kentucky offensive coordinator Wealthy Scangarello mentioned. “One of many downsides is that we have had explosive [plays], however they don’t seem to be scoring on a regular basis. Chunk performs are nice, however when chunk performs get tackled on the 25 as an alternative of scoring, it is arduous.”

The Wildcats’ purple zone woes determine to get harder in opposition to a Georgia protection that has given up an FBS-best six touchdowns within the purple zone all season.

A lot has been fabricated from the Georgia protection, and with good purpose. However misplaced in what the Dawgs have performed in successful 25 consecutive regular-season video games vs. Kentucky going again to the tip of the 2000 season is how environment friendly they have been on offense. They’re tied for sixth nationally in scoring offense (40.6 factors per sport) and are third nationally in complete offense (509.6 yards per sport). — Chris Low

play

2:28

Kirby Sensible explains how the No. 1 Bulldogs stay hungry after working their strategy to the highest and breaks down Kentucky QB Will Levis’ unaffected play fashion.


Illinois (7-3) at No. 3 Michigan (10-0) (Saturday, midday ET, ABC/ESPN app)

Illinois acquired off to a scorching begin, going 7-1 earlier than dropping its previous two video games in opposition to Michigan State and Purdue. An enormous a part of the group’s success has come from working again Chase Brown, who leads all FBS working backs with 1,442 yards.

He’s averaging 5.15 yards per carry and has seven speeding touchdowns on the season. Sadly for Illinois, Brown went down with an harm within the final sport in opposition to Purdue. He hasn’t been dominated out in opposition to Michigan, however his standing continues to be unsure.

“Josh McCray, Chase Brown … each these guys are trending in the fitting route,” coach Bret Bielema mentioned. “Very optimistic and excited, however do not know the place we’ll be by Friday for the journey and Saturday for the sport.”

Michigan’s protection already ranks No. 1 in rush yards allowed per sport, giving up solely 72.7 yards. The group is No. 3 in yards allowed per rush and No. 3 in speeding touchdowns allowed, giving up solely three touchdowns on the bottom.

That may make the problem of enjoying 10-0 Michigan, ranked No. 3 within the Faculty Soccer Playoff rankings, much more troublesome if Brown is not capable of play.

“Our run wall has been superb, it should be examined this week in all probability like none different up thus far,” Jim Harbaugh mentioned. “So, Illinois could be very sturdy on the line of scrimmage on each side of the ball. Excellent, excellent run scheme, excellent working again. So, it will be an actual problem and a job for our group this yr.”

This is a crucial sport for the Wolverines to stay undefeated and provides the group an opportunity to tackle Ohio State to complete out the season for one more berth within the Large Ten championship sport and the playoff.

Michigan is not with out accidents, both, as defensive finish Mike Morris was injured in the latest sport in opposition to Nebraska. Morris went on the Inside Michigan Soccer radio present and mentioned he is feeling nice and that he tweaked his leg within the sport.

“I really feel like I will be all proper,” Morris mentioned. “Our trainers are working very arduous. I used to be in there getting therapy for like 4 hours this morning, so I will be high-quality. I am in nice palms, it is all in God’s plan.” — Tom VanHaaren


No. 4 TCU (10-0) at Baylor (6-4) (Saturday, midday ET, Fox)

TCU had established itself as a second-half protection, remodeling from leaky to lockdown in a number of Large 12 wins. Nevertheless it wasn’t sufficient.

Two weeks in the past, defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie instructed the group that in the event that they wished to realize their greatest objectives, they wanted to ship “a full 60.”

“I knew we had the potential,” Gillespie instructed ESPN. “I simply did not know the place it was going to occur, or if it was going to occur. That was as full a four-quarter defensive [performance] that we have performed up till this level. And it is good timing.

“Now the deal is, you have to maintain doing it. You have acquired a giant goal in your chest, and that is a great factor.”

Gillespie referred to TCU’s defensive masterpiece in final week’s win at Texas, which did not rating an offensive landing and completed with solely 28 web rush yards, whereas averaging 3.3 yards per offensive play. TCU’s defensive stars shined: cornerback Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, linebacker Johnny Hodges, security Mark Perry and others.

The Frogs silenced Texas and any remaining doubters about their Faculty Soccer Playoff candidacy. However their quest continues, once more on the street, this time in opposition to the defending Large 12 champions in Baylor.

Gillespie has seen important progress from TCU’s defensive position, which entered the season as his greatest concern. The entrance three will probably be pressured by a Baylor offense that, till final week in opposition to Kansas State, had run the ball effectively with freshman Richard Reese and others.

“You are speaking about three palms within the grass, and that is it,” mentioned Gillespie, who makes use of the more and more in style 3-3-5 alignment. “We’re asking them to tackle roles and do some issues that are not so fairly generally. It is simpler to fall in love with it while you see manufacturing, however simply the best way they’ve embraced the strategy, it is a very selfless perspective.

“And people guys make a whole lot of dadgum performs.”

Baylor comes off of its worst offensive efficiency since 2020, recording season lows in factors (3) and speeding yards (103). Coach Dave Aranda stays totally assured in quarterback Blake Shapen, who had two interceptions in opposition to Kansas State, whereas “urgent” and struggling along with his footwork.

“He could be a twin risk, there’s a whole lot of scramble stuff,” Gillespie mentioned of Shapen. “They have three working backs, they are going to maintain contemporary legs, they are going to hit you on the perimeter, and then you definitely’ve acquired a whole offensive line that has been enjoying collectively for a minute. It is a unit that works very effectively collectively, they perceive one another.”

Gillespie entered the season not likely understanding what TCU’s protection may change into. The Frogs had been implementing a brand new scheme and feeling out how offenses would assault them. After stringing collectively quarters, halves and eventually a full sport, TCU is primed to proceed its quest for an inconceivable CFP spot.

“You have seen nearly each blocking scheme, we have had nearly each adjustment,” Gillespie mentioned. “In order that they’ve gotten mature. There was some persistence in understanding, ‘If we may put each [halves] collectively, we could possibly be a reasonably good squad.’ Fortuitously, it began occurring the opposite night time. Actually that is acquired to be one thing we construct off of.” — Adam Rittenberg

Clinching situations for Week 12

Energy 5

ACC

• Clemson and North Carolina have each clinched spots within the ACC championship sport.

Large 12

• TCU has clinched a spot within the Large 12 championship sport. The Horned Frogs are making their second look within the Large 12 title sport. They misplaced in 2017 to Oklahoma.

• Kansas State clinches a spot within the Large 12 championship sport with a win at West Virginia and a Texas loss at Kansas. In response to ESPN Analytics, there is a 17% likelihood the Wildcats clinch a spot within the championship sport this week.

Pac-12

• USC clinches a spot within the Pac-12 championship sport with a win at UCLA. In response to ESPN Analytics, there is a 61% likelihood the Trojans clinch a spot within the championship sport this week.

• Utah clinches a spot within the Pac-12 championship sport with a win and UCLA loss. In response to ESPN Analytics, there is a 32% likelihood the Utes clinch a spot within the championship sport this week.

• Oregon clinches a spot within the Pac-12 championship sport with a win vs. Utah and a Washington loss to Colorado. In response to ESPN Analytics, there is a 2% likelihood the Geese clinch a spot within the championship sport this week.

SEC

• Georgia and LSU have each clinched spots within the SEC championship sport. They’re assembly within the SEC championship sport for a fifth time, the second most by any pair of groups in any convention championship in FBS historical past. Alabama and Florida have met 10 instances within the SEC title sport.

Georgia has an 84% likelihood to win the SEC championship sport in response to ESPN Analytics.

Group of 5

American

• UCF clinches a spot within the American championship sport with a win vs. Navy and loss by Houston at East Carolina. In response to ESPN Analytics, there is a 61% likelihood the Knights clinch a spot within the championship sport this week.

• The second spot within the championship sport can’t be clinched till Week 13.

Convention USA

• UTSA clinches with a win at Rice or Florida Atlantic loss at Center Tennessee. In response to ESPN Analytics, there is a 90% likelihood the Roadrunners clinch a spot within the championship sport this week.

• The second spot within the championship sport can’t be clinched till Week 13.

MAC

• Toledo has clinched the West, its seventh look within the MAC championship sport. That’s the second-most by any group, trailing solely Northern Illinois (9).

• Ohio clinches the East with a win at Ball State and Bowling Inexperienced loss at Toledo. In response to ESPN Analytics, there is a 52% likelihood the Bobcats clinch a spot within the championship sport this week.

Mountain West

• Fresno State clinches the West Division with a win at Nevada or losses by San Jose State (at Utah State) and San Diego State (at New Mexico). In response to ESPN Analytics, there’s an 84% likelihood the Bulldogs clinch a spot within the championship sport this week.

• Boise State clinches the Mountain Division with a win at Wyoming. In response to ESPN Analytics, there is a 79% likelihood the Broncos clinch a spot within the championship sport this week.

Solar Belt

• Coastal Carolina has clinched the East. That is Coastal Carolina’s first look within the Solar Belt championship sport.

• Troy clinches the West with a win vs. UL Monroe and South Alabama loss at Southern Miss. In response to ESPN Analytics, there is a 32% likelihood the Trojans clinch a spot within the championship sport this week.

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