College football is back again, with the defending-champion Alabama Crimson Tide rolling into Columbus to take on Ohio State in a battle of unbeatens. Let’s examine the game and what it means for each side.
The “most turnovers in ncaa football” is a statistic that has been tracked for over 100 years. The statistic is important because it provides insight into how well teams are playing offensively and defensively.
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Number one Georgia defeated Charleston Southern of the FCS by a score of 56-7. Meanwhile, Ohio State handled a top-10 Michigan State squad like an FCS team, winning by the same score.
Week 12 of the college football season provided Heisman Trophy moments, shocking shocks, and spectacular plays, laying the groundwork for what is likely to be an exciting rivalry week.
Our correspondents put the previous week into context.
The Pac-12’s prospects of having a national champion were virtually dashed with Oregon’s devastating 38-7 defeat to Utah. Getty Images/Chris Gardner
The Pac-12 has struck out again again.
For the sixth consecutive season, the so-called Conference of Champions will be denied not just the championship, but also the chance to have one of its clubs participate in a final game. The conference’s sole chance for a playoff berth vanished in an unceremonious manner after Utah exposed an Oregon squad that had battled to appear dominating in previous weeks. So, what’s next?
Though Oregon coach Mario Cristobal made it clear that the Ducks still have a lot to play for, the evident disappointment highlights a hard reality: despite how well the Ducks have recruited and performed in recent years, the Pac-12 is still not competitive with the best teams in the nation. In recent years, what might have been regarded as depth has devolved into mediocrity across the board. Teams with a.500 record keep beating each other not because they’re all excellent, but because none of them are exceptional.
Oregon has unquestionably been the top team in the league in recent years, but its potential remains untapped. It’s why, this summer, all eyes will be on USC, which will have its sixth head coach (interim or full-time) since Pete Carroll’s departure.
In comparison to its conference counterparts, USC still has unequaled potential due to its location, player name, image and likeness prospects, history, and name brand. It can and should be a recruiting force that can and will equip a group worthy of defeating SEC and Big Ten powerhouses, not only in California. To say the least, tapping into that potential has been difficult, but with the proper choice, the Trojans might shock their program and the league. Both of them, it’s fair to say, are in desperate need of each other.
Sure, the shortest way to a playoff place for Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff is to press for the long-awaited expansion of the playoff system, which seems to be almost complete. However, a change in structure may just shift the debate rather than solve the issue. Making the playoffs will no longer be the issue for the conference; it will be winning it. Paolo Uggetti (Paolo Uggetti)
Would a two-loss Alabama team have a stronger CFP resume than Cincinnati’s undefeated AAC title? USA TODAY Sports-Gary Cosby Jr.
Alabama isn’t a sure thing to make the playoffs.
Georgia is in, appears to be the general consensus on the present condition of the College Football Playoff. Alabama will be admitted. The winner of the Ohio State-Michigan game will advance. Depending on how the last games play out, the final berth might go to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Cincinnati, or Notre Dame.
Given the committee’s rankings over the last four weeks, it makes sense, but there’s one large red elephant in the room that we may not be discussing enough: Alabama.
Are we positive the Tide will make the playoffs?
This isn’t meant to be taken as a severe condemnation of Alabama. Men don’t make fun of Nick Saban and then survive to tell the tale. Doubting the Tide is a tragedy waiting to happen. But this isn’t about evaluating Tuscaloosa’s true talent. It’s all about analyzing the next playoff scenarios.
First and foremost, Alabama’s resume is impressive (convincing wins over Ole Miss and Mississippi State, both ranked, as well as Miami, Tennessee and Arkansas). However, that record includes a defeat to a Texas A&M team that was in disarray (and unranked) at the time and still has three losses on the season. A&M has scored less than 22 points in five of its six games this season, but it scored 41 against Alabama, its second-highest total against an FBS opponent. And then there’s Alabama’s dreadful victory against Florida, which looks even worse in hindsight. It was a fortunate escape from an LSU squad that had all but given up on the season.
On Saturday, Alabama came within a whisker of losing to Arkansas, with only the heroics of their Heisman-candidate quarterback, Bryce Young, saving the Tide. There have been games in which the Tide’s defense has struggled, games in which the O-line has looked shaky, and games in which the running backs have had little freedom to roam — all of which is typical of any team’s season. It’s simply one-of-a-kind in a state like Alabama.
This isn’t meant to smear the Tide’s resume. But, if we’re going to pick on Cincinnati, it’s only fair.
But there’s a greater stumbling block in the way: the future. There’s the Iron Bowl, which seems to be a foregone conclusion for Alabama, but odd things have occurred in this game in the past. Then there’s the SEC title game, where a matchup against No. 1 Georgia could easily result in a second defeat for Alabama.
There has never been a two-loss team in the College Football Playoff. Would Alabama be a good bet to be the first to do so?
On the one hand, one might argue that losing to Georgia isn’t a big deal. It’s something that everyone does. On the other hand, we’d already have evidence that Alabama couldn’t defeat Georgia, so why should we give the Tide another chance?
What if it comes down to 13-0 Cincinnati vs. 11-2 Alabama for the last playoff spot? Yes, strength of schedule is important, but would the committee go so far as to overlook an undefeated Bearcats squad in favor of a two-loss Tide squad?
Of course, there’s still the possibility that Alabama easily defeats Auburn and shocks Georgia in Atlanta in two weeks, and all of this will be for nothing. Doubt Alabama at your risk once again.
However, if the playoff picture becomes clearer, Alabama’s place may not be as safe as it seems at first glance, and if the Tide are in the midst of that last argument, it might wind up being the largest issue the committee has ever had to answer. ‘David Hale’
Treylon Burks of Arkansas has eight receptions for 179 yards and two scores against Alabama. Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox
In the 2022 draft, the top wide receivers put up massive statistics.
In their first year in the NFL, rookie wide receivers may have an instant impression. Consider Ja’Marr Chase, a former LSU standout. Several prospective first-round wideouts in the 2022 NFL draft class put on a display on Saturday that put them ahead of the competition.
As he entered Bryant-Denny Stadium to face the Alabama secondary, Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks faced one of his toughest challenges of the season. Burks showed to be a high-end danger in a seven-point setback. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound receiver ended with eight receptions for 179 yards and two scores, including a 66-yard run that showcased his speed.
Alabama’s Jameson Williams produced another outstanding performance on the other side of the field. After transferring from Ohio State, he has flourished with greater possibilities. He had eight catches for 190 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the only athlete in school history to have four 75-yard touchdown grabs in a single season.
In a top-10 battle against Michigan State, Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, the Ohio State combination who stood atop Williams’ depth chart previous to his promotion to Alabama, both dominated. Olave topped all receivers in receiving yards and touchdowns with 140 yards on seven receptions and two scores. Wilson was not far behind, with seven receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns. The explosive tandem has established themselves as the most dangerous corps in the country, coupled with outstanding sophomore Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Overall, the wide receiver class of 2022 seems to have a bright future. NFL clubs looking for fresh perimeter weapons will be in luck, as the incoming class of prospects is loaded with talent. Jordan Reid, author
This season, Matt Corral has passed for 3,100 yards, 552 yards on the ground, and 29 total touchdowns. Matt Bush is a sports reporter for USA TODAY.
This year’s Egg Bowl is the SEC’s flagship rivalry game.
Forget about the Iron Bowl. The Egg Bowl will be the SEC rivalry game to watch this week, with Auburn on a three-game losing run after its defeat to South Carolina and Alabama predicted to be a big favorite.
You’ll have a hard time finding a stronger quarterback matchup than Ole Miss’ Matt Corral and Mississippi State’s Will Rogers. This season, the two have combined for 63 touchdowns.
However, although Corral has been a well-known product for some time, Rogers is not. He was still playing high school football in Brandon, Mississippi, two years ago. By big-time college football standards, he was an unknown three-star recruit with scholarship offers from Troy and Tulane.
Rogers has emerged as one of the most effective quarterbacks in the nation after an up-and-down rookie season in 2020. In last Saturday’s victory against Tennessee State, he broke school records for passing yards and touchdowns in a single season, which were previously held by Dak Prescott, perhaps the finest player in program history.
Rogers, the first Mississippi State quarterback to pass for 4,000 yards in a season, said he had admired Prescott since he was in elementary school and “never really anticipated” being in the same company as him.
“I’m not really shocked,” Mike Leach, his coach, said.
The reason for this is because, like many other young athletes, learning the Air Raid offense takes time. More repetitions equals faster processing and more consistency.
Not only has Rogers improved steadily, but so has the offense as a whole, setting up a potential shootout on Saturday against Lane Kiffin’s high-powered Ole Miss outfit. Makai Polk equaled Fred Ross for the most catches this season with 88, while Austin Williams set another school mark with three touchdowns in a single game against Tennessee State.
State was averaging 24.7 points per game during its first six games this season, which placed 12th out of 14 SEC teams.
However, it has averaged 40.4 points per game in its last five games, which ranks third in the league after Georgia and Alabama. Alex Scarborough’s remark
Stopping C.J. Stroud and the Buckeyes will be Aidan Hutchinson and the Wolverines’ most difficult challenge in Week 13. Getty Images/Greg Fiume
The rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State is significant.
We’ve all wondered whether Ohio State and Michigan were on the verge of colliding for a place in the Big Ten title game and a berth in the College Football Playoff.
We don’t have to make any more educated guesses. It’s occurring right now.
Both teams are ranked in the top five for the first time since 2016, when No. 2 Ohio State defeated No. 3 Michigan 30-27 in double overtime. The argument over whether Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was short on a fourth-down run that led to the game’s winning touchdown remains engraved in Michigan supporters’ brains.
It’s been a long time since this game meant anything to either team, and it’s also been a long time since Michigan won in this rivalry. Ohio State has won eight of the last 16 encounters, including 15 of the last 16. Jim Harbaugh is 0-5 versus Ohio State, and the Wolverines will have to do a lot to shut down the Buckeyes’ attack.
Quarterback C.J. Stroud is coming off a game against Michigan State in which he threw for 393 yards and six touchdowns in the first half alone. Stroud only threw three interceptions on the day and could have thrown for 600 yards if he hadn’t been benched for the backups.
It would be an understatement to say the Ohio State offense is clicking right now. Stroud has five throwing touchdowns and no interceptions in four games this season, which is tied for the most by any FBS quarterback in the last 20 years.
Smith-Njigba, Wilson, and Olave, his receivers, are the only Big Ten trio in the last 25 years to each have 100 receiving yards in multiple games.
The game against Michigan State was expected to be much closer, but it ended up being the largest margin of victory between two top-seven teams since 1945, when No. 1 Army defeated No. 6 Penn 61-0.
Because the game was such a rout, Ohio State coach Ryan Day stated that his attention rapidly shifted to Michigan.
“We have a major game coming up just around the bend — everything is riding on this,” Day remarked. “I wasn’t even halfway through the game when I started thinking about it. The Wolverines are the center of attention.”
Michigan’s offense has been strong as well, but maybe more crucially for this game, the defense hasn’t let up more than 18 points in the last three games. The Wolverines’ defense allows the eighth-most pass yards per game and the tenth-most overall yards per game.
To stop Ohio State’s passing assault, its secondary will have to play its finest game of the season. Michigan is coming off a win against Maryland in which it limited quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa to 178 yards, one score, and one interception.
“Everything that was planned, constructed for, all of the energy that has been put in since early 2021, January, February, all of the things that the boys have done, all of the things that the coaches have done has placed us in this position,” Harbaugh said. “We wanted to be in that position, and we want to stay there. We’d want to take home all of the marbles. As a result, we’ve arrived at the point where we want to be. We’ve been preparing for this for the better part of a year, and now we’re putting it all together this week to play for it all.” Tom VanHaaren (Tom VanHaaren)
Jordan Addison and Pitt have secured a berth in the ACC championship game, which will be played against Wake Forest, NC State, and Clemson. Keith Srakocic/AP Photo
Pitt is the one (in the Coastal)
Nobody could have predicted that Pitt would be the first team to secure a position in the ACC championship game at the start of the season. However, nothing about this season has followed a predictable pattern.
Pitt is one of them.
People assumed it was the same ol’ Pitt following a 44-41 setback to Western Michigan, which was made worse by the circumstances — a week after an outstanding 41-34 victory over Tennessee. Coach Pat Narduzzi told ESPN on Sunday that he was concerned about his players’ sideline attitude during the Western Michigan game, to the point that he spoke to them about how they looked to shy away from the toughness required to win an unexpectedly tight game.
Since then, particularly in the last two must-win games, it hasn’t been an issue. They’ve all been heart-stopping affairs, because this is Pitt, and nothing comes easily for him (or, as conditioned Pitt fans will say, without thinking the worst is about to happen). The Panthers surged out to a fast 17-0 lead against North Carolina in the rain two weeks ago, only for the Tar Heels to tie the game late and send it to overtime.
Kenny Pickett won the game with an 11-yard touchdown throw to Lucas Krull, demonstrating why he has received so much praise during the season. Pitt was in a nail-biter versus Virginia on Saturday, with the game slingshotting back-and-forth until the Pickett-to-Jordan Addison connection proved too tough to stop.
“Our kids have been completely unaffected,” Narduzzi added. “They’re confident in what they’re doing and where we’re headed. Nobody ever seems to flinch in front of me. That’s one of the qualities of a championship team: they discover new ways to win. The whole game had us on the tip of our seats, but the players continued playing and sticking together.”
Pitt earned a trip to Charlotte for the ACC championship game for the second year in a row, winning the Coastal Division for the first time since 2018. Pitt is the first Coastal Division team to win two division championships since 2013. Both have been brought under Narduzzi’s control.
“It tells a lot about the program’s status,” Narduzzi said. “Coming from the Big East and into the ACC takes time to get there and accomplish what you want. We’ve done an excellent job of recruiting, and we’re not simply taking men for the sake of taking them. We’re looking for men that we believe will fit in well and can help us achieve our goals.”
The next week will be more difficult. Pitt finishes the season against Syracuse, but since the Atlantic title will not be determined until Saturday afternoon, Wake Forest, NC State, and Clemson must first settle their differences so Pitt can focus on the championship game. Andrea Adelson’s remark
This season, Tennessee has scored 34 points seven times. Jeremy Pruitt’s Tennessee Vols only done it five times throughout his tenure. Bryan Lynn is a sports reporter for USA TODAY.
Heupel and Beamer’s first-year gems
Josh Heupel at Tennessee and Shane Beamer at South Carolina are outstanding instances of first-year coaches entirely transforming the culture with the way they interact with everyone in their school, and doing it in a positive manner.
People in such programs often use words like “positivity,” “belief,” and “accountability.”
Nobody anticipated much from the Tennessee Volunteers or South Carolina Gamecocks this season, but they’re both bowl eligible and have built a wave of momentum heading into the playoffs — and, more crucially, the next recruiting period.
When Vanderbilt comes to Knoxville on Saturday, the Vols will be widely favored to make it seven victories. Heupel’s lightning-fast approach has thrown opponents off, delivered a slew of huge plays, and proven as enjoyable to watch. Tennessee has scored 34 points seven times this season, compared to just five times in Jeremy Pruitt’s three seasons as head coach.
For most of this season, South Carolina’s offense has been a challenge. Three different quarterbacks have been used by the Gamecocks, including Zeb Noland, who was a graduate assistant coach over the summer. Most recently, it’s been FCS transfer Jason Brown, who has seven touchdown throws in the last three games, including five in victories over Florida and Auburn. Clemson is coming to town on Saturday night, and after seven consecutive defeats to the Tigers, it’s not unreasonable to believe that the Gamecocks have a chance to pull off an upset and reach seven victories.
Heupel and Beamer should also be commended for not allowing their teams’ disappointments to demoralize them. Tennessee was shut out in the second half of a September loss to Florida and received the short end of several officials’ calls in a home loss to Ole Miss, but the Vols continued to develop and, despite a team decimated by transfers, defeated nationally rated Kentucky on the road two weeks ago.
Tennessee and Texas A&M blew away South Carolina on the road. But it didn’t give up, winning two of its biggest games of the season in November against Florida and Auburn.
Both the Vols and the Gamecocks will rely heavily on the next two or three recruiting classes since they are currently behind in terms of manpower. They do, however, have a handful of first-year head coaches who have breathed fresh life into fan bases desperate for anything to cheer about. Chris Low (c)
Keep an eye on this coaching prospect.
Many coaches are being tossed about as prospective possibilities at the top of different lists around the sport now that the coaching carousel is in full gear. Top players like James Franklin, Dave Aranda, and Mario Cristobal, to mention a few, are well-known.
Doug Belk of Houston is someone you may not be familiar with. After two seasons as the cornerbacks coach at West Virginia, Belk was appointed as the co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach in January 2019. Belk was promoted to assistant head coach in January 2020, then to defensive coordinator in January 2021.
If you want to connect Belk to a renowned coaching tree, he worked as a defensive graduate assistant coach at Alabama from 2014 to 2016, where he worked directly under Nick Saban, Kirby Smart, and Jeremy Pruitt.
Houston’s defense is ranked sixth in the FBS this season under his leadership, allowing just 293.4 yards per game. He was instrumental in Houston’s first 10-game winning run since 2015, when they began 10-0.
Belk’s defense limited a Memphis attack that had scored 28 points or more in every game this season to just 13 points while forcing two turnovers this week.
So, whether or not he gets a head-coaching job this year, keep Belk’s name in mind in the future. His time will come. Harry Lyles Jr., Harry Lyles Jr., Harry Lyles Jr., Harry
EVE Online is ensuring that it is ready for the hardware future while also warning those who are stuck in the technology past. The game will no longer support DirectX 9 by Tuesday, January 11th, and all players will be required to play with DirectX 11.
“Maintaining DirectX 9 compatibility has become a substantial development expenditure, limiting our capacity to increase EVE Online’s graphical quality. “With DirectX 9 being used by fewer than 1% of gamers, the timing is appropriate to remove support in 2022,” CCP Games writes in the release.
Players that are able to run EVE in DX11 should go to the launcher’s Game Client settings and uncheck the option that says the game runs in DX9. Existing players will be migrated to the DX11 version on Tuesday, November 30th, assuming their GPU supports it; nevertheless, players may continue to utilize DX9 until January 11th. CCP is “highly recommending” that anyone who manually switch to the previous version contact customer service to figure out why. It’s also worth noting that this only affects PC users since the Mac version uses Metal rather than DirectX.
The update is being hailed as a net good for players since it would let the developers to construct “a stronger foundation to offer great aesthetics to all EVE pilots.” If you’re still behind the hardware curve and want to continue playing in this space sandbox, you have about a month and a half to catch up.
What a week it’s been for the Chicago Bears’ organization. After the Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions, reports surfaced that head coach Matt Nagy had been fired.
Then came allegations that such claims were incorrect, and Nagy called a practice cancellation only days before a game. On Thanksgiving, the Bears almost survived the winless Lions courtesy to a last-second Cairo Santos field goal.
Despite the triumph, Nagy’s departure is a foregone conclusion.
The Bears recently beat a Lions club that had no victories and was without D’Andre Swift.
In addition to the defeat, the Lions lost their standout running back D’Andre Swift to a shoulder injury late in the first half. The Lions will face the Vikings on Sunday.
November 25, 2021 — Stephania Bell (@Stephania ESPN)
For the first time since their reunion, Jared Goff and Josh Reynolds connected on a touchdown throw to give the Lions an early lead. However, Dan Campbell’s task was made much more difficult when running back D’Andre Swift injured his shoulder and was forced to leave the game.
So, despite Detroit’s offensive limitations, the Bears came out on top by two points. Sure, Justin Fields was absent, but that’s no excuse.
The Lions are a bad club, plain and simple, and the Bears struggled to develop any kind of rhythm throughout the game. Andy Dalton threw for 317 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, but the rushing game was non-existent, with David Montgomery gaining just 46 yards on 17 runs.
After scoring 13 points in the second quarter, Chicago was kept scoreless until Santos’ right leg made the game-winning field goal. That is a significant worry.
Matt Nagy won the game, but he didn’t help himself in the process.
Matt Nagy’s offense is the only one in the NFL capable of making the Lions’ defense look good.
Ryan Fedrau (@the fed 23) (@the fed 23) (@the fed 23) (@the fed_ 25 November 2021
It’s hardly a good omen that the Bears scored just 16 points against the NFL’s weakest club. It’s also perplexing that the Bears only scored one touchdown and went almost two quarters without scoring.
With Dalton as the starter, Nagy finally got his wish, as the Red Rifle threw for more over 300 yards. However, he averaged just over eight yards per throw attempt, indicating that his yardage total isn’t as outstanding as the box score suggests.
Matt Nagy is having a good day. In the grand scheme of things, you’ll still need more than 16 points against the Lions, but he should appreciate receiving the game ball. #Bears https://t.co/SMlU96wsyS
November 25, 2021 — Anthony Herron (@BigAntHerron)
This Bears team should have annihilated the Lions, particularly after Detroit’s first-half loss of Swift. Despite being far from 100% healthy, Goff led for virtually the entire second half.
The Bears would have been the first team this season to lose to the Lions if it hadn’t been for the Lions’ dreadful play, and Nagy would have seen the door slam shut behind him on his way out.
At some time, the Windy City will undergo changes.
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy | Nic Antaya/Getty Images
Can you believe this Bears club was in the playoffs only one season ago?
Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles were hot-and-cold quarterbacks who bungled their way into the playoffs before falling in the first round.
This time, though, that will not be the case. Nagy deserves to be fired, and he will most likely be at the conclusion of the season. However, there is a case to be made for Ryan Pace, the general manager, to be fired as well.
Start again, recruit new faces all around, and trust Fields and this youthful bunch of weapons to turn over Chicago’s troubled period.
Ryan Pace is more to blame than Matt Nagy for the #Bears’ present predicament. He’s been terrible at his job for a long time and can’t be allowed to appoint his third #NFL coach (yep, he’s the one who hired John Fox).
November 24, 2021 — Herb Lawrence (@Ecnerwal23)
After the season, the Bears may part ways with both Pace and Nagy. Sure, a victory is a win, but edging out the NFL’s poorest team isn’t reassuring.
It’s just a matter of time until Nagy and Pace are fired, and the Thanksgiving win gives them some time at Halas Hall.
Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
RELATED: Matt Nagy’s Bears tenure is in jeopardy after another perplexing decision
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