Michigan vs. Ohio State, USC vs. Notre Dame, extra we’re watching in Week 13
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 very best of the very best head to their convention championship video games, bowl video games, and for a fortunate quartet, the Faculty Soccer Playoff. And meaning there are a bunch of video games with a lot at stake.
The largest, after all, is the competition appropriately known as The Sport — 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 largest rivalry is a battle for a spot within the Massive Ten Championship Sport, a possible spot within the CFP, and presumably even an announcement on who will rule the convention transferring ahead.
However as massive as Wolverines-Buckeyes is, there are a handful of different video games that carry additionally nice which means, a few of them even impacting the CFP chase.
Here is what we’re wanting ahead to watching in a number of the largest matchups this weekend.
What ought to individuals find out about No. 21 Tulane at No. 25 Cincinnati? (Midday ET)
Younger: This recreation is all about residence–discipline benefit. The winner could have an opportunity to play for the chance to host the American Athletic Convention Championship. And except one thing wild occurs within the last week of the common season — like UCF beating South Florida, Tulsa beating Houston and enjoyable with tiebreakers — this recreation can be performed once more for the convention title recreation.
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 workforce leaves of their bag for a rematch per 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 resolve the very best workforce in school soccer exterior 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 recreation, which is tied for eighth amongst Group of 5 colleges thanks largely to dual-threat quarterback Michael Pratt’s 29 complete touchdowns.
The Bearcats proceed to solidify their declare as the very best mid-major program in school soccer below head coach Luke Fickell. That is Cincinnati’s fifth consecutive 12 months with a minimum of 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 price watching on Fickell’s roster based mostly 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 workforce from the Pac-12, however there’s nonetheless lots 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 a minimum of 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 recreation ought to be an appreciation for quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and tailback Zach Charbonnet, the offensive stars who fueled this system’s turnaround below Kelly. Thompson-Robinson enters the weekend with 10,235 profession passing yards and 1,725 profession speeding 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 mentioned, UCLA is searching for simply its fourth 10-win season in twenty years. That might go a great distance towards future recruitment and status because the Bruins put together for an eventual exit to the rather more aggressive and tradition-rich Massive 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 recreation. An incredible efficiency by both Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud or a Willis Reed-style entrance and efficiency from Blake Corum can be proper on cue.
The Buckeyes usually are not solely trying to avenge their first loss to the Wolverines since 2011 however to revive its popularity as a troublesome and bodily workforce after being referred to as “a finesse team” — learn: comfortable — by former Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis final 12 months.
Cohen: It’s onerous to look past the health of Corum after he dropped out of final week’s win over Illinois with an obvious knee harm. Corum ranks fifth nationally in speeding with 1,457 yards and is tied for second in speeding 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 leap cuts and lightning-strike acceleration that present the requisite pop. There are solely six tailbacks in school soccer with extra 40-yard runs than Corum (4) this season.
In a broader sense, no matter success Michigan has working the ball towards 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 applications after final 12 months’s walloping within the trenches. All season, Day has spoken concerning the method of his workforce’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 Sport: Ohio State, Michigan to sq. off
RJ Younger is joined by Geoff Schwartz to preview the most important recreation 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 workforce within the driver’s seat for a possible berth within the Pac-12 title recreation. The Geese and the Trojans from USC are the one Pac-12 colleges with a single convention loss this season and seem destined to fulfill for the league’s championship in Las Vegas subsequent weekend. The 2 applications didn’t play one another within the common season.
The ultimate hurdle between Oregon and a visit to Las Vegas is an enhancing 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 below 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 collection since 1975. The Geese keep a commanding all-time lead of 67-48-10 because the recreation was first performed in 1894.
Younger: Oregon State can inch nearer to securing its first 10-win season since 2006 with a win towards their in-state rival.
For Jonathan Smith and the Beavers, a win right here can be pivotal in positioning them for a terrific 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 recreation towards USC. However that’s solely a certainty if Oregon beats Oregon State.
What’s price 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 preserve their hopes of enjoying for a nationwide title alive. They have to be good.
To try this, although, the Horned Frogs must beat the worst workforce within the Massive 12 in Cyclones, who additionally occurred to beat maybe the very best workforce within the Massive Ten West in Iowa.
I count on a slobber knocker.
Cohen: Very like Michigan can be racing towards the clock to get Corum and backup tailback Donovan Edwards wholesome in time for kickoff, TCU is monitoring the standing of its star working again, Kendre Miller, in addition to standout large receiver Quentin Johnston — each of whom dropped out of final week’s come-from-behind, last-second win over Baylor.
Head coach Sonny Dykes mentioned Miller absorbed a robust hit within the third quarter and was faraway from the sport for what seemed like precautionary causes “to make sure he was in good shape.” However Dykes additionally revealed that Miller, who has rushed for 1,188 yards and 14 touchdowns, is coping with multiple harm concern.
Johnston’s state of affairs sounded a bit extra critical when Dykes was requested about it earlier this week. The focus of TCU’s passing recreation has battled accidents for the higher a part of a month, Dykes mentioned, and customarily solely practices within the final couple of days of a given week. The present drawback is what Dykes described as “a pretty good ankle sprain” that would inhibit Johnston’s explosiveness this weekend. A possible first-round decide, 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 determination to raise LSU (9-2, 6-1 SEC) to fifth within the newest CFP rankings suggests the Tigers are in pole place to probably 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 may 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 recreation, 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 dropping streak by squeaking previous UMass — arguably the worst workforce in school soccer — in a barren stadium final week. The fan base has turned on head coach Jimbo Fisher although 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 can be an excellent 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 workforce than LSU, however they haven’t performed prefer it. For LSU, it is an opportunity to indicate the CFP committee was not unsuitable 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 recreation.
Week 13 CFP Rankings: LSU makes a push
RJ Younger reacts to the lately 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 one 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 dropping to Marshall at residence.
Nonetheless, they’ve put collectively a technique that works and might work towards USC — run the ball and play excellent protection.
If the Irish can try this, they will knock off USC and certain slam the door shut on the Pac-12’s CFP hopes. For USC, the Trojans want an excellent win to place themselves to be the fourth workforce in if Ohio State, Michigan, TCU or Clemson falters within the last week of standard season play or the convention title recreation.
Cohen: How concerning the second-half resurgence at Notre Dame? The Combating Irish had been left for lifeless after a season-opening loss to Ohio State gave approach to ugly residence stumbles towards Marshall and Stanford. Head coach Marcus Freeman’s workforce 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 essential 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 prime 4 of Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and TCU with a shock from the committee at No. 5 in two-loss LSU. Most assumed USC can be the workforce in school soccer’s model of the on-deck circle following a powerful highway win over UCLA final weekend. However the Trojans nonetheless have two possibilities for high-profile wins towards Notre Dame after which whichever workforce they face within the Pac-12 title recreation.
Previewing Notre Dame-USC and extra
RJ Younger is joined by Geoff Schwartz to preview two of the most important 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 accomplished 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 by 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 Massive 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 prime in an eventual bowl recreation. That’s one thing the Okay-State program hasn’t accomplished since 2012 below legendary former coach Invoice Snyder.
Younger: In what has been a dream season for Kansas, what higher approach 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 enjoying for the league title. That, in and of itself, is motivation sufficient.
Michael Cohen covers school soccer and basketball for FOX Sports activities with an emphasis on the Massive Ten. Observe him on Twitter at @Michael_Cohen13.
RJ Younger is a nationwide school soccer author and analyst for FOX Sports activities and the host of the podcast “The Number One College Football Show.” Observe him on Twitter at @RJ_Young and subscribe to “The RJ Young Show” on YouTube.
Get extra from Faculty Soccer Observe your favorites to get details about video games, news and extra