Think about a world the place Ed Orgeron totally outcoached Nick Saban.
Think about, if you’ll, a spot the place P.J. Fleck would not simply have Minnesota rowing the boat, however partying aboard a ship heisted from some Rick Ross video.
Think about waking as much as discover crew — the defending nationwide champions, truly — has a transparent shot to the playoff with out having performed a single opponent more likely to be ranked within the high 25.
Shut your eyes and envision a state of affairs wherein a crew that, simply two years in the past, completed 1-11 — and is now among the many closing 5 unbeatens. Or a state of affairs the place Lovie Smith goes bowling, the place an SEC crew will get housed at residence by San Jose State and Western Kentucky in the identical season, the place Texas is celebrating one other last-second win over a crew from Kansas, and the place Appalachian State owns each North and South Carolina.
Welcome to Bizarro School Soccer.
Saturday was presupposed to separate the boys from the boys on the sphere, and it actually did that. The outcomes, nevertheless, have shaken the very cloth of the faculty soccer universe, a disruption within the space-Tide continuum, the place up is down and Alabama’s playoff hopes are on life assist.
Actually, LSU’s 46-41 victory in Tuscaloosa should not come as an infinite shock. These Tigers are good, with an offense able to tormenting even essentially the most astute defensive coordinator, and a Heisman favourite at quarterback. And, as we little question hear on repeat between now and the official announcement of the School Soccer Playoff, Tua Tagovailoa was hobbled, his ankle taped to maintain him upright in a recreation wherein he nonetheless mustered each little bit of magic to throw for greater than 400 yards.
However for all of the logic behind LSU’s march by Alabama, it nonetheless looks like some unusual dream. Might the Crimson Tide, members in each playoff up to now, actually be achieved?
The ultimate rating exhibits a valiant effort by Alabama, nevertheless it additionally belies the actual influence of LSU’s efficiency. The Tigers totaled 559 yards of offense, essentially the most towards an Alabama crew since 2014 and essentially the most ever in a win over a Saban-coached Tide crew. To make sure, Joe Burrow was transcendent — whizzing bullets on fast throws for which Alabama had no reply, scrambling for essential yardage to wriggle from almost each breakdown. There is a case to be made that, in the meanwhile, the perfect coach within the SEC is the man no one needed simply three years in the past, whereas the merry-go-round on Saban’s workers may need lastly caught up with him.
Nick Saban has now been schooled in his final two consequential video games. Not a very good search for the GOAT.
– Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) November 10, 2019
What’s stunning is not a lot that it occurred than that it has occurred so usually of late. Alabama has allowed 450 yards or extra 15 occasions underneath Saban. Six of these video games have come since final December. Burrow, too, was simply the newest QB to torch the Tide. The quarterbacks of the previous 5 ranked opponents to face Alabama have mixed for 63% completions, almost 2,000 yards, 15 complete touchdowns and no interceptions. All 5 have topped 300 complete yards of offense. To see Clyde Edwards-Helaire rack up 180 yards and 4 touchdowns is mind-boggling towards an Alabama protection. Besides, given the youth up the center of this explicit protection, it is truly not all that stunning.
Maybe extra shocking was the scene in Minnesota, the place the Golden Gophers — a crew that narrowly escaped South Dakota State to open the season — totally uncovered Penn State’s disastrous secondary, pulling off the upset of the Nittany Lions 31-26. Tanner Morgan threw extra touchdowns (three) than incompletions (two), Antoine Winfield Jr. picked off two passes, and P.J. Fleck crowdsurfed the locker room. Minnesota is main the nation in partying. Certainly, a dominant Minnesota just isn’t distinctive. The Gophers have seven nationwide championships of their historical past. It is simply that the newest one got here when Prince was in diapers.
Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck crowdsurfs within the locker room after his crew’s win over Penn State.
The losses by Penn State and Alabama clarified the playoff image sufficient that, whereas Virginia Tech’s upset of Wake Forest erased Clemson’s finest shot at beating a ranked crew, the Tigers — dominant in a 55-10 win over NC State — in all probability haven’t got to fret about successful a magnificence contest with the committee. It is too dangerous. Dabo Swinney would’ve dominated the expertise competitors.
Baylor, ranked 12th, may be the crew with essentially the most complaints for the committee, however the Bears did not precisely assist their case by going to a few overtimes with TCU earlier than rising with the victory. Baylor stays undefeated with Oklahoma on deck subsequent weekend. Wherever this season ends, it is a great distance from the place Matt Rhule started, inheriting a program in utter turmoil two years in the past.
Talking of complaints, Chad Morris would possibly want witness safety in Arkansas after getting demolished by Western Kentucky. He’s maybe not alone on the SEC sizzling seat, both. Will Muschamp would possibly personal one of many season’s most gorgeous upsets with a win at Georgia, however Saturday’s residence defeat to Appalachian State means he’ll want to tug off one other stunner towards Clemson within the finale if the Gamecocks are to make a bowl.
After which there’s Illinois. If there’s something approaching rock-solid proof that this, certainly, is a few type of unusual alternate actuality, it is the Illini. A month in the past, Smith’s crew was 2-Four, left for useless in mid-October — or, because it’s often described in Illinois, a typical season. Then a stunner towards Wisconsin, with a last-second area purpose to win it, adopted by victories over Purdue and Rutgers, and one other stunning comeback, towards Michigan State on Saturday. Illinois scored 27 fourth-quarter factors to erase a 31-10 deficit, taking a 37-34 lead with 5 seconds left and turning into bowl-eligible for the primary time since 2014. There’s slightly Ron Zook-era magic within the air in Champaign, and we won’t get sufficient of it.
Certain, someplace on another timeline, all stays regular on this planet. Alabama’s D is nice, Illinois is dangerous, and Ohio State is busy apologizing for some inexplicable Large Ten loss. In that universe, all of it is sensible, school soccer as we have come to understand it.
On this timeline, although? It is a courageous new world, the place Coach O is magic, Minnesota has playoff hopes and just about something appears doable within the subsequent three weeks.
Properly, that was simple
Justin Fields throws three landing passes and runs in one other rating as No. 1 Ohio State beats Maryland 73-14.
Ohio State was a 43-point favourite towards Maryland on Saturday, which could’ve appeared like quite a bit if you have not seen Maryland play soccer recently. For the Buckeyes, it took slightly greater than a half of soccer to cowl that unfold. They led 42-Zero at intermission, received 73-14, and for the ninth time in 9 video games celebrated a win by not less than 24 factors.
How uncommon is that feat? In line with ESPN Stats & Data analysis, it is simply the seventh time within the AP ballot period a crew received every of its first 9 by 24 or extra — and the primary since Ohio State did it in 1973.
Just one crew has ever received every of its first 10 by that margin. That was the 1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers, a crew that received the nationwide championship.
Suppose Ohio State has a shot to match Nebraska? The Buckeyes have Rutgers on deck.
One other 200 for Taylor
Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor racked up the ninth 200-yard recreation of his profession within the Badgers’ win over Iowa. Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire
Jonathan Taylor had simply 52 yards towards Ohio State per week in the past, and his 2.6 yards per rush marked the worst common of his profession. So what did he do to get again on observe? How’s 31 carries for 250 yards sound?
Taylor scorched the Iowa protection in a 24-22 victory, racking up the ninth 200-yard recreation of his profession. Northern Illinois’ Garrett Wolfe is the one different FBS participant up to now 20 years to do this, per ESPN Stats & Data information. And with not less than 4 video games left on the docket for Taylor, he is bought a shot to match the NCAA file of 10, presently held by three of the perfect to ever carry a soccer — Ricky Williams, Ron Dayne and Marcus Allen.
Dwelling cooking for the Hokies
Virginia Tech pulled the upset over No. 19 Wake Forest on Saturday behind a stellar effort from the protection in a recreation honoring legendary coordinator Bud Foster, who is ready to retire at season’s finish.
The celebration surrounding Foster was hardly the one cause for a festive crowd in Blacksburg, although. Whereas the victory marked Virginia Tech’s 13th win over a ranked opponent up to now decade, based on ESPN Stats & Data analysis, it was the primary time the Hokies had overwhelmed a top-25 crew at residence since 2009, once they upended No. 9 Miami.
You hate to see it
East Carolina pushed No. 25 SMU to the brink, however in the end fell 59-51 Saturday. That comes only one week after almost toppling No. 17 Cincinnati in what ended up a 46-43 loss. The Pirates are simply the second crew up to now decade to attain not less than 94 factors in consecutive video games and lose each, following a equally disagreeable stretch by West Virginia final season.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Photographs
Is that this actually crucial any longer? Certain, we possible mentioned the identical at this level a 12 months in the past, when Tua Tagovailoa appeared like a certain factor for the Heisman Trophy, just for Kyler Murray to make a late cost and swipe the award. So maybe we’re getting forward of ourselves. However Joe Burrow’s 31-of-39 for 393 yards at Alabama — that is a Heisman line. Good luck to the remainder of the contenders looking for a efficiency to high that.
1. Joe Burrow, LSU
He is good. You heard it right here first.
2. Justin Fields, Ohio State
4 extra touchdowns in a 73-14 win over Maryland. Up subsequent is Rutgers. The one drawback goes to be conserving Fields within the recreation lengthy sufficient to pad the stats.
Three. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
Hurts had his eighth recreation of the season with not less than 4 complete touchdowns. Up to now decade, solely three gamers have had 9 — and two of them (Marcus Mariota in 2014, Murray final season) received the Heisman.
Four. Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State
He leads the nation in speeding, speeding touchdowns and has a means cooler title than “Joe” or “Justin,” in order that’s a strong case for an invitation to the ceremony.
5. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
The ultimate line seems to be awfully good: 418 yards and 4 TDs. However Tagovailoa additionally had two turnovers, accomplished only a tick higher than 50% of his throws, and was upstaged by Burrow.
Greatest bets and dangerous beats
Time beyond regulation is an actual drawback for bettors of the underneath. Triple OT is much worse. Good bettors had been everywhere in the underneath (48.5) in Baylor’s showdown with TCU, they usually would possibly’ve been counting their money when the Horned Frogs led 9-6 with lower than a minute remaining. However John Mayers’ 51-yard area purpose with 36 seconds to play tied it at 9 and despatched the sport to extra time. And the 2 groups traded touchdowns by the primary two intervals earlier than Baylor received it within the third OT. Factors in regulation: 18. Factors in extra time: 34. Profanities uttered by of us with the underneath: Numerous.
Minnesota was a uncommon Eight-Zero residence underdog Saturday, getting 6.5 factors from No. Four Penn State. That made the Gophers simply the 18th crew up to now 4 a long time to be Eight-Zero or higher and nonetheless get factors at residence, based on ESPN Stats & Data. And bettors who studied the historical past in all probability knew to load up on P.J. Fleck’s crew. Total now, the canines are a formidable 14-Three-1 towards the unfold with 13 outright wins. Fleck, in the meantime, has received six straight video games as an underdog — simply the ninth coach up to now 40 years to do this.
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Texas backers would possibly’ve breathed a sigh of aid when the Longhorns discovered the tip zone with 39 seconds to play — a PAT away from a push as a landing favourite. Then they noticed the laundry on the sphere. The Longhorns had been flagged for an unlawful formation, negating the TD. Sam Ehlinger’s subsequent play went nowhere, and Texas settled for a area purpose — ok for a straight-up win however 4 factors shy of the purpose unfold.
When Texas Tech jumped out to a 28-Three lead early within the second quarter towards West Virginia, it certain appeared the Crimson Raiders would possibly hit the over (56.5) with out a lot assist from the Mountaineers. At halftime, Texas Tech led 35-10, inching ever nearer to the overall. The second half, nevertheless, was an over bettor’s nightmare. Texas Tech had a first-and-10 on the West Virginia 14, however turned it over on downs. West Virginia had a first-and-10 on the Crimson Raiders’ 17 and threw a choose. The Mountaineers’ penultimate drive bought to the Texas Tech 2, however a fourth-down strive from the Four failed. Once more, no factors. In all, the second half totaled 10 factors, and the underneath lined by 1.
Give it to the large man
It has been powerful for Clemson to steal the highlight with a schedule that options a number of highschool groups, so the Tigers pulled out the one play assured to finish up on each spotlight present this weekend: The Large Man Landing.
On a goal-line run, Trevor Lawrence handed to 330-pound guard John Simpson, who did his impression of Clemson working over its ACC schedule, rumbling into the tip zone for the rating.
Whereas Clemson alum William “The Fridge” Perry set the usual for Large Man TDs, he by no means scored one with the Tigers. Nonetheless, Simpson would not match the college’s all-time file, which unofficially belongs to Dexter Lawrence, who did it simply final 12 months at 342 kilos.
Clemson offensive lineman John Simpson takes the handoff up the center for a one-yard landing.
Beneath-the-radar play of the week
There’s not been a lot excellent news for Florida State this season, however in its first recreation after firing Willie Taggart, D.J. Matthews willed FSU to a win over Boston School with an insane run-after-catch. Matthews hauled within the cross from James Blackman close to midfield, cut up two defenders, juked two extra as he headed towards the sideline, then dove the final 5 yards for the pylon. The 60-yard reception was the distinction in a 38-31 FSU win that, with Alabama State on deck, all however assured the Seminoles would get again to a bowl recreation in 2019.
D.J. Matthews makes the catch and takes all of it the way in which down the sidelines as he dives over the pylon to present Florida State a late 31-24 lead.
Beneath-the-radar recreation of the week
Minnesota toppling Penn State and LSU upending Alabama made for a terrific Saturday of undefeated groups going face to face, however they did not have a monopoly on the motion. Within the Ivy League, Dartmouth handed Princeton its first lack of the 12 months, too — 27-10 — to maneuver to Eight-Zero and snap a 17-game successful streak for the Tigers. The Large Inexperienced’s dominant protection held the excessive flying Tigers to only 246 yards and their worst scoring day since 2015’s season finale, which additionally got here towards Dartmouth. It is a unhappy day for Princeton, which actually has nothing with out soccer.