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Sunday, February 5, 2023

School soccer Week 13 – A information to the most important video games

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We have made it to the ultimate week of school soccer’s 2022 common season.

The ultimate week all the time brings rivalries to the forefront and this season age-old matchups will dictate what occurs within the School Soccer Playoff subject.

A spot is reserved within the CFP for the winner of The Sport between Michigan and Ohio State as soon as once more. Because the Wolverines took down C.J. Stroud and the Buckeyes final season to earn a spot within the playoff, revenge will likely be on the minds of everybody in Columbus.

One other doable playoff spot is on the road Saturday night time in L.A. as USC hosts Notre Dame. The Trojans are the Pac-12’s finest probability on the CFP however first must get previous a Combating Irish workforce that has gained 5 video games in a row and aiming for a New Yr’s Six bowl.

Clemson hosts South Carolina after the Gamecocks put collectively their finest efficiency of the season in opposition to Tennessee final week whereas a low stakes Iron Bowl hits Alabama.

Tulane and Cincinnati meet with a spot within the American Athletic Convention 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.


No. 3 Michigan (11-0) at No. 2 Ohio State (11-0) (Saturday, midday ET, Fox)

There have solely been 11 different matchups between these two groups with each ranked within the prime 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 gained the nationwide championship.

To say the stakes are excessive is an understatement. Each groups know what’s on the road. Though there was some trash discuss and vitriol previously, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is taking a special method to this 12 months’s sport.

“We’re very grateful to be on this place to be taking part in on this sport. Winner takes the East, winner takes all proper there,” Harbaugh mentioned. “So, robust opponent, and it is the sort of state of affairs that offers you the chance to show how robust our workforce is. There is not any have to hate, be glad about the opponent. It is like superheroes, it is by a powerful opponent you get to seek out out who you’re.”

There won’t be a lot bulletin board materials this week for both workforce, however Ohio State has not forgotten the previous. After Michigan gained The Sport final season, then offensive coordinator Josh Gattis mentioned on the radio that Ohio State was extra of a finesse workforce and never a tricky workforce.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day mentioned this is not the place or time to speak about what was mentioned previously, however tight finish Cade Stover made it very clear, he’s going to make use of these phrases as motivation.

“I actually do not give a s— what anybody exterior this program says about our toughness,” Stover mentioned Tuesday. “We all know what we have.”

Each 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 in opposition to Illinois, however advised Detroit Information reporter Angelique Chengelis that he needs to be good to go for the sport. The Buckeyes have accidents within the backfield as effectively with Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson each banged up, however freshman Dallan Hayden stepped in in opposition to Maryland and rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns.

Neither coach had an replace on their accidents, however neither appeared too involved about their workforce or its well being.

Day is aware of regardless of who’s on the sphere, they are going to be motivated by the loss from final season and each groups will deliver their finest Saturday. Day mentioned he did not need to put an excessive amount of on his gamers relating to implications of this sport, however he has reminded them of what they felt like after the loss to the Wolverines final season.

“I feel you are formed by no matter’s occurred in your previous and we have now scars and it motivated us all offseason,” Day mentioned. “So, we have labored very onerous to get to this second proper right here, and now it is time to go put together the perfect we will and that is what we will give attention to bodily, mentally and emotionally to go play the toughest sport we have ever performed. And we’ll discover out the place we’re at on Saturday.” — Tom VanHaaren


No. 15 Notre Dame (8-3) at No. 6 USC (10-1) (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app)

Billed on the biggest intersectional rivalry in school 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 sensible path to their first playoff look, however not if they cannot beat Notre Dame, which has gained 5 straight since a shocking dwelling loss to Stanford.

“Take pleasure in being on this second, take pleasure in competing at this degree,” USC coach Lincoln Riley mentioned of his message to the gamers. “Our workforce will get excited to play groups like this, there isn’t any query about it. It is enjoyable taking part in actually good competitors in cool venues with a whole lot of issues on the road. That’s a lot enjoyable, so embrace it.”

The Heisman Trophy could possibly 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.

However he hasn’t confronted many defenses as proficient and sound as Notre Dame’s, which ranks sixteenth nationally in opposition to the go.

“They’ve good gamers in any respect ranges,” Riley mentioned. “They’ve constructed a expertise base. When their backups are available in, there are nonetheless a whole lot of proficient guys on that subject.”

Each groups have elite defensive ends. Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey has 5.5 sacks in his previous 5 video games and just 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 is a robust, athletic defensive finish; he can beat you up bodily and likewise use his athletic means to get round you as an offensive lineman,” Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees advised ESPN. “They put him in actually good spots, attempt to single him up. We have got to do our half to ensure we’re sound in our protections.”

Rees believes Notre Dame’s offensive line, which entered the season with lofty expectations however struggled early, is taking part in at the next degree 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 in opposition to USC as Notre Dame’s beginning quarterback, mentioned decision-making from present QB Drew Pyne, and the Irish’s means to guard him, will likely 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 is 8-1 because the beginning quarterback at Notre Dame, and he is finished a whole lot of good issues to assist our program win video games,” Rees mentioned. “Anybody else’s opinion or narrative is sort of nonsense to me. The job of the quarterback is to win soccer video games. He is extraordinarily assured, and I am excited for him to get an opportunity on the market in L.A.”

After dropping eight straight to USC from 2002 by 2009, Notre Dame has gained 4 in a row and eight of the groups’ previous 11 conferences. — Adam Rittenberg


South Carolina (7-4) at No. 8 Clemson (11-1) (Saturday, midday ET, ABC/ESPN app)

The plain query following South Carolina’s 63-38 win over then-No. 5 Tennessee final week, a sport by which QB Spencer Rattler threw extra touchdowns (six) than he had in seven prior SEC video games mixed (5), was what the heck occurred?

Absolutely, South Carolina discovered a magic system by rewriting the sport plan, throwing out the playbook and changing it with some sorcerer’s spells in an effort to comply with up a wholly 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 known as a whole lot of the identical stuff we have now all 12 months,” South Carolina coach Shane Beamer mentioned. “If something, there was much less within the sport plan. However [Rattler] performed with a whole lot of confidence and he was very poised and knew the place to go along with the ball.”

South Carolina churned out a historic efficiency in opposition to a top-five workforce by merely doing what it is all the time finished — and simply did it higher than normal.

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 decide to be the primary total decide within the 2022 NFL draft. The man was unquestionably proficient.

However then Rattler’s season went haywire, he was benched and finally he transferred to South Carolina. His new dwelling afforded solely minimal respite, and he struggled to recreate the massive numbers he’d posted in 2020 that had made him a scout’s dream.

Somewhat than assume Rattler was merely overrated or misplaced his contact, think about when the items match and all of it clicked in opposition to Tennessee. All of a sudden, the man everybody cherished 15 months in the past was again.

“He made some throws you simply cannot defend,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney mentioned. “You return and look and a few, there was that a lot” — Swinney holds two fingers separated by six inches — “that a lot room between a landing catch and an incompletion.”

If it looks as if a protracted shot, simply take into account the QB Rattler will face on this week’s rivalry sport in opposition to Clemson.

Again in August 2021, DJ Uiagalelei was a man with actual Heisman hopes, too, and along with his large arm, he seemed like an apparent NFL prospect. However like Rattler, his 2021 season went off the rails as Clemson tried to seek out the correct supporting forged, Uiagalelei battled accidents and doubt and criticism grew to become the soundtrack to a misplaced season.

Uiagalelei did not switch like Rattler did. As an alternative, Swinney spent an offseason praising the QB. The outcome was a stable rebound season that, whereas removed from Heisman-worthy, has stored the Tigers within the playoff hunt. Nonetheless, Uiagalelei sees the parallels.

“I do not need to speak about anybody else’s journey,” Uiagalelei mentioned, “however he is finished a fantastic job of simply sticking to being the particular person he’s and taking part in his sport and never listening to the surface noise.”

For each, the highs might have been a bit overvalued. However the lows — effectively, QBs have a method of being drug deep into the mire when issues go unhealthy.

“He will get that, however he is been a improbable teammate and a improbable chief,” Beamer mentioned of Rattler. “I advised him the opposite day, and I feel you’ll be able to say the identical factor about DJ — DJ’s the beginning quarterback and he is gained 10 soccer video games. With Spencer, too, he is finished a whole lot of optimistic issues this 12 months. It won’t be the 12 months he needed statistically, however he is gained a whole lot of soccer video games and finished a whole lot of issues for us as a program already.”

Maybe 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 proficient.

“Each have had some ups and downs, however DJ’s actually performed effectively for us,” Swinney mentioned. “He is a winner, a fantastic chief and an unbelievably dedicated man. And Spencer, I’ve obtained a whole lot of respect for him as a participant. He is obtained all of the instruments.”

Rattler and Uiagalelei had been each requested this week about their futures in school soccer. Each can return for 2023 with hopes of constructing on the steps ahead they’ve taken this 12 months. Or they might go away, attempt their luck within the NFL draft, hope to show folks improper once more on the subsequent degree.

There’s most likely no easy reply for both one. The trail is not almost so clear as it’d’ve appeared 15 months in the past.

However Saturday’s Palmetto Bowl will permit at the least one in every of them so as to add one other chapter to their private redemption tales.

“I needed to return right here and win a whole lot of large video games,” Rattler mentioned after Saturday’s win over Tennessee. “We have been doing that. And we have nonetheless obtained video games to complete out.” — David Hale

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CFP choice committee chair Boo Corrigan explains why it has Clemson ranked behind Alabama.


Auburn (5-6) at No. 8 Alabama (9-2) (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

There is not any such factor as an inconsequential Iron Bowl. Simply ask the parents who stay within the state or the coaches and gamers who’ve been part of one in every of school soccer’s fiercest rivalries.

However 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 School Soccer Playoff or BCS nationwide championship sport implications. Alabama has already misplaced two regular-season video games and is out of the playoff chase. That is the primary time Alabama has gone into this sport with two regular-season losses since 2010.

It has been a tumultuous season for Auburn, and the Tigers are simply making an attempt to grow to be bowl-eligible. However it’s been a special Auburn workforce these previous three video games underneath interim coach and former star working again Cadillac Williams. Auburn, taking part in with renewed life, has gained two straight video games on the heels of a 39-33 additional time loss to Mississippi State underneath Williams, who took over when Bryan Harsin was fired on Oct. 31.

Auburn working again Tank Bigsby mentioned Williams is teaching the entire workforce with the “similar power” that he coached the working backs earlier than being named interim head coach.

“If you already know Coach Cadillac, he did not change as a result of he was the pinnacle coach,” Bigsby mentioned.

One factor that has modified underneath 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 underneath Williams, and Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter have every rushed for 100 yards previously 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 in opposition to this season, particularly these groups which can be one-dimensional. The Crimson Tide are tied for eighth nationally in dashing yards per try allowed (3.1). However in 4 completely different SEC video games, they allowed greater than 180 yards on the bottom, and one of many issues to look at 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 additional time, within the Tigers’ 32-31 win.

The Crimson Tide gained in 4 overtimes a 12 months in the past in opposition to the Tigers, and quarterback Bryce Younger rallied the Tide from a 10-0 deficit. They drove 97 yards for a landing late in regulation to pressure the 4 overtimes and a 24-22 Alabama win. It is 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 little bit greater than a month later earlier than being fired in October.

And whereas there will not be a nationwide championship alternative down the highway for Alabama this season, no one wants to elucidate the stakes to Nick Saban. As he is mentioned a number of occasions, if you happen to do not win this sport, no matter the rest you’ve got completed, there’s all the time a however.

In fact, the backdrop to this sport will heart on the man who will not be teaching on both sideline. Numerous indicators are pointing to Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin being named Auburn’s head coach as early as Sunday.

Simply the considered Saban and Kiffin in the identical state is sufficient to boost even the spiciest of rivalries. — Chris Low


No. 9 Oregon (9-2) at No. 23 Oregon State (8-3) (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app)

On some degree, it feels just like the Geese are making a winded, however valiant dash to the end line. But when that is the case — after an in depth loss to Washington and an in depth win in opposition to Utah — perhaps the motivation of a regional rivalry sport is strictly what Oregon wants to make sure it performs at the least yet one more significant sport within the Pac-12 championship. A win and the Geese are in.

Oregon State will arrive simply as motivated. The Beavers have quietly put collectively a improbable season underneath head coach Jonathan Smith. Take the blowout loss to Utah in Salt Lake Metropolis away and so they’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 Geese’ motivation regardless of not having a visit to the title sport on the road. Since 2003, Oregon State has solely gained 9 video games in an everyday season as soon as.

And whereas the story for the Geese 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 superb offense in Utah final week throughout what was a tricky, low-scoring affair.

“They’re explosive on offense, and we all know we’re not going to win this sport 3-0, or going into it we do not assume so,” Smith mentioned. “However then you definately get into these video games and every sport is a little bit bit completely different.”

One of many anchors of that explosive Geese’ offense led by quarterback Bo Nix has been beginning heart Alex Forsyth, who missed the Utah sport as a result of a proper shoulder harm. Oregon coach Dan Lanning didn’t shed a lot gentle on whether or not Forsyth would be capable of play on this week’s sport.

“It is that point of 12 months once you’re banged up and also you’re hurting and it is not Week 1 anymore,” Lanning mentioned.

If Oregon is limping to the end line, it feels just like the Beavers are catching their stride, which is able to seemingly make this a fair matchup. And what higher option to cap off Smith’s turnaround of this system in Corvallis than with a signature win in opposition to Oregon State’s most hated rival. Probably preserving them out of the Pac-12 championship? That might simply be icing on prime of the cake. — Paolo Uggetti


No. 19 Tulane (9-2) at No. 24 Cincinnati (9-2) (Friday, midday ET, ABC/ESPN app)

Cincinnati followers have been clamoring for a change at quarterback for some time now.

Nicely, they might get what they requested for at an fascinating time — through the regular-season finale in opposition to Tulane with a visit to the American Athletic Convention championship sport on the road.

To date, there’s been no resolution on whether or not beginning quarterback Ben Bryant will likely be prepared after he suffered a foot harm throughout final week’s win at Temple. He left the sport within 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 in need of 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 total 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 vital sought-after recruits in program historical past and a participant who has the power to run the soccer when known as upon.

Earlier than 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. However, throughout that point, he carried the ball 9 occasions for 89 yards and a landing.

Then, Prater got here on in opposition to 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 superb job of what he was requested to do. As the sport progressed, Fickell mentioned coaches gave him extra alternatives.

“I assumed he moved across the pocket rather well and delivered some actually good balls,” he mentioned.

Towards a stout Tulane secondary that offers up solely 189.5 passing yards per sport, Prater’s means to combine issues up as a runner may turn out to be useful. UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee rushed for 176 yards in opposition to the Inexperienced Wave only some 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 mentioned they’re “optimistic” about Bryant’s restoration however they will not know his availability till nearer to sport time.

“If [Bryant is] capable of do it, then you already know what, we may go that route,” he mentioned. “However, we obtained to have preparations in each methods.” — Alex Scarborough


Clinching eventualities for Week 13

Spots already clinched

ACC: Clemson and North Carolina

Massive 12: TCU

Pac-12: USC

SEC: Georgia and LSU

Convention USA: UTSA

MAC: Toledo and Ohio

Mountain West: Boise State and Fresno State

Solar Belt: Coastal Carolina

Massive 12

• Kansas State clinches with a win vs Kansas OR Texas loss vs Baylor. In accordance with ESPN Analytics, there’s an 88% probability the Wildcats attain the Massive 12 championship sport.

•Texas clinches with a win vs Baylor AND Kansas State loss vs Kansas. There is a 12% probability the Longhorns attain the Massive 12 championship sport, in keeping with ESPN Analytics.

Massive Ten

• The winner of Saturday’s Michigan-Ohio State sport wins the East. In accordance with ESPN Analytics, there is a 71% probability the Buckeyes attain the Massive 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). In accordance with ESPN Analytics, there’s an 84% probability the Hawkeyes attain the Massive Ten championship sport.

• Purdue clinches the West with a win at Indiana AND Iowa loss to Nebraska. There is a 12% probability the Boilermakers attain the Massive Ten championship sport, in keeping with ESPN Analytics.

• Illinois clinches the West with a win at Northwestern AND losses by Iowa (vs Nebraska) and Purdue (at Indiana).

Pac-12

• Oregon clinches with a win at Oregon State OR Washington loss at Washington State. In accordance with ESPN Analytics, there is a 78% probability the Geese attain the Pac-12 championship sport.

• Utah clinches with a win at Colorado AND losses by Oregon (at Oregon State), Washington State (vs Washington) and California (vs UCLA). In accordance with ESPN Analytics, there is a 15% probability 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).

American

• 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.

• Even with a loss, Cincinnati clinches a spot within the American championship sport with losses by UCF (at South Florida) and Houston (vs Tulsa).

• If Houston wins and Cincinnati and UCF loses, the tie between the Bearcats and Cougars will likely be damaged by composite laptop rankings (Cincinnati is at present effectively forward of Houston in these rankings)

Convention USA

• North Texas clinches with a win vs Rice OR Western Kentucky loss at Florida Atlantic. In accordance with ESPN Analytics, there is a 91% probability the Imply Inexperienced attain the Convention USA championship sport.

• Western Kentucky clinches with a win at Florida Atlantic AND North Texas loss vs Rice. In accordance with ESPN Analytics, there is a 9% probability the Hilltoppers attain the Convention USA championship sport.

Solar Belt

• Troy clinches the West with a win at Arkansas State OR South Alabama loss vs Previous Dominion. There is a 75% probability the Trojans attain the Solar Belt championship sport, in keeping with ESPN Analytics.

• South Alabama clinches the West with a win vs Previous Dominion AND Troy loss at Arkansas State. In accordance with ESPN Analytics, there is a 25% probability the Jaguars attain the Solar Belt championship sport.

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