The longer the faculty soccer season goes on, the weirder issues appear to get, and Week 12 was one thing else.
Recreation cancellations grew to a season-high, 19 in complete. Michigan defeated Rutgers and it felt like an upset. The girlfriend of a Temple participant examined constructive for COVID-19, which someway compelled the Owls to play their fifth-string quarterback. Oh yeah, impartial Liberty, the undefeated powerhouse they have been, lastly misplaced a sport towards a Energy 5 opponent.
It’s been bizarre, to say the least. So listed here are six takeaways from the BYU and Utah video games, Pac-12 and Mountain West motion and extra.
Utah performed a sport. May be greatest to depart it at that
The Utes lastly performed a university soccer sport Saturday, after weeks and weeks and weeks of standing on the proverbial sideline watching and ready.
That could be a main takeaway and a victory in and of itself. Amidst a worldwide pandemic, school soccer was performed up on the hill, in the end.
Each FBS program within the state of Utah has now performed a soccer sport in 2020. In April or Might, even July, that may have sounded absurd and lots of would have believed it to be a close to impossibility. But it surely occurred. Individuals noticed it. Most of it at the least, save for a few punts late within the third quarter.
As anticipated, it wasn’t a really fairly season debut for the Utes. Utah misplaced to USC 33-17, in an damage and turnover-marred contest.
What takeaways are there for Utah? There are fairly a couple of. Quarterback play is a priority. Offensive line play, too. The fixed shuffle of playmakers out and in of the lineup on offense was unusual (maybe compelled by poor health ranges, with COVID-19 a potential trigger).
Defensively, the Utes have been superb. Nephi Sewell was nice. Protection was at instances too smooth and strain on the quarterback too inconsistent, however Utah was pretty stout towards the run.
Sweeping declarations could possibly be made about how Utah isn’t a contender for even the Pac-12 South title (they may not be), or how the Utes could possibly be the worst crew within the division proper now (Arizona might be worse, however who actually is aware of).
For an evening at the least, these takeaways can wait. Utah performed soccer Saturday and let’s go away it at that.
Does the Pac-12 have an elite crew? A shot on the CFP?
Whereas Saturday may need been Utah’s season opener, the remainder of the Pac-12 has been going for 3 weeks now. After the newest motion, some issues are beginning to grow to be a bit of extra clear, emphasis on a bit of.
For one, tiers have began to emerge, with Oregon, Washington, USC and possibly Colorado standing on the high of the convention.
All 4 are undefeated, although every bought there in their very own style. Oregon has survived, week after week after week and the identical will be mentioned for USC, although the Trojans defeated the Utes soundly sufficient. Washington was examined by Oregon State, however fully dominated Arizona and Colorado has someway managed to eke out victories in a pair of shootouts.
By three weeks, no Pac-12 crew has appeared invincible, although, and even higher than all the remaining.
How does that have an effect on the Pac-12’s School Soccer Playoff aspirations? It isn’t nice. The convention wanted to get away from its common parity and have two to 3 elite groups use the remainder of the convention as fodder. That manner, come convention championship time, the winner of the convention title may lay declare to a powerful win or two, all for the advantage of the CFP committee.
There’s nonetheless time. Oregon and Washington don’t play one another till Dec. 12 and each could possibly be undefeated heading into that sport. If USC runs the desk — the Trojans play Colorado subsequent week — that may arrange a Pac-12 title sport between unbeatens.
The winner of that sport may make it into the CFP. The Large 12 is down this 12 months, a window for the Pac-12 has been opened. The shortage of any dominant or elite groups at this level doesn’t bode nicely for the convention’s postseason future, although.
Wouldn’t it have been enjoyable had BYU performed anybody else?
Let’s get some issues out of the way in which.
BYU was at all times going to play North Alabama. The Lions have been one in every of solely two groups from the Cougars’ unique 2020 schedule that remained an choice to play this season (for a very long time they have been the solely ones).
When BYU’s season appeared in jeopardy this summer time, as convention’s postponed play or dedicated to conference-only schedules, North Alabama was an opponent the Cougars may and did depend on.
Throw within the cash that may have been required to cancel the sport, on brief discover no much less, the extra price of going to play some place else, and the truth that BYU’s athletic division is a $20 million shortfall, and there was by no means an opportunity BYU wouldn’t play North Alabama this weekend.
So play they did and BYU was as dominant as anticipated, profitable 66-14. Takeaways from the sport will be discovered right here, or right here and even right here.
Merely put, BYU stays an important crew. Given the way in which the Cougars beat down the overmatched Lions, although, it will have been good to see them play another person Saturday.
There have been choices out there, and given the bye weeks forward, these groups and their friends could also be potentialities for the Cougars going ahead, if COVID-19 cancellations proceed to rise the way in which they’ve.
Mountain West applications like Wyoming, Colorado State and San Jose State have been free this weekend, after their scheduled opponents have been compelled to cancel. The Cowboys desperately hunted for an opponent, however got here up empty. The Spartans, in the meantime, missed out on their rivalry sport with the Bulldogs, within the midst of their greatest season in current reminiscence (sound acquainted, Cougar followers?).
MWC video games will doubtless proceed to be canceled going ahead — COVID-19 isn’t precisely going away — as may some Pac-12 video games. Given the necessities set by the Pac-12 to play nonconference opponents this season, although, the very best likelihood for BYU to choose up extra video games appears to be their former convention.
In principle, video games towards Cincinnati, Marshall or Liberty are choices too, possibly even video games towards different Energy 5 convention groups, however let’s be trustworthy, given the state of the pandemic throughout the nation for the time being, the very best and sure solely choices for the BYU are MWC groups.
And wouldn’t it have been extra enjoyable to see a type of video games Saturday?
San Diego State isn’t serving to BYU’s trigger, however Boise State is
Talking of future BYU opponents, the final official one — San Diego State — misplaced once more Saturday. The Aztecs fell to undefeated Nevada in a decent one, 26-21, and at the moment are 3-2 on the 12 months.
SDSU’s losses aren’t dangerous. San Jose State and Nevada are the one unbeaten groups left within the MWC, however each loss by the Aztecs lessens the significance of their Dec. 12 tilt with BYU.
With video games towards Fresno State and Colorado State over the following couple of weeks, SDSU conceivably could possibly be 3-4 once they tackle BYU, though 4-3 with a loss to FSU is extra doubtless, and 5-2 a chance.
Any manner it’s sliced, that could be a far cry from the crew most assumed the Aztecs can be this season, once they have been projected to be top-of-the-line two groups within the MWC.
Then again, BYU’s highway win at Boise State appears higher and higher by the week, even with all of the caveats thrown on the market concerning the state of the BSU crew that BYU performed.
The Broncos went to Hawaii and took care of enterprise late Saturday night time, and at 4-1 with video games remaining towards SJSU, UNLV and Wyoming, may realistically end the common season 7-1.
That success would virtually definitely result in a High 25 rating, a flip of occasions BYU followers needs to be hoping for. Desperately.
How have the remainder of the Cougars’ opponents fared? Houston is 3-3, Navy is 3-4, Troy is 4-4, Louisiana Tech is 4-3, UTSA is 6-4, Texas State is 2-9 and Western Kentucky is 2-6. So not particularly nice.
The rebuild is in full swing at Utah State, whether or not the Aggies need it to be or not
Utah State didn’t play over the weekend, after the rivalry sport towards Wyoming was canceled as a result of an “upward pattern” of constructive COVID-19 instances throughout the Aggies’ program.
The surprising bye, in principle, gave the crew an opportunity to regroup after a dismal 0-4 begin. The off week proved something however a quiet reprieve, nevertheless.
Over the course of three days — Thursday, Friday and Saturday — three USU starters entered the switch portal.
One by one after the other, security Troy Lefeged Jr., extensive receiver Deven Thompkins and hybrid linebacker/security Money Gilliam all determined to depart Logan.
Lefeged Jr. was one of many crew’s greatest defenders, though a season-ending damage meant his 12 months was already achieved, however Thompkins was the Aggies’ best offensive weapon not named Jaylen Warren and Gilliam had seamlessly moved from security to linebacker and grow to be a key contributor.
Throw in final Sunday’s dismissal of quarterback Jason Shelley and USU misplaced 4 starters in beneath per week’s time.
USU had already embraced a youth motion this season, by necessity. Utah State is the Thirteenth-youngest crew within the nation, with 65.4% of its roster made up of freshmen and sophomores. The Aggies have had 16 gamers make the primary begins of their careers this 12 months, and 23 gamers have made their debut with the crew.
Nonetheless, with the lack of 4 key veterans, and the very actual chance of extra to comply with, the rebuild is on to an accelerated diploma in Logan.
In a Saturday morning tweet, interim head coach Frank Maile tweeted how grateful he’s for adversity and the expansion it spurs.
His sentiment, as inspiring because it could be, will proceed to be put to the take a look at over the following three weeks.
School soccer’s postseason ought to embrace loopy
The 2020 season has been something however regular. Some groups have performed 9 or 10 video games, whereas others have performed just one or two. Bye weeks typically appear to show into bye months (significantly, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence hasn’t performed in a month), and the record of undefeated groups consists of Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame and USC, but additionally Coastal Carolina, BYU, Marshall and Northwestern.
For all of the strangeness there was, the powers that be stay steadfast of their need for a standard four-team school soccer playoff.
Earlier within the week, Invoice Hancock, the chief director of the CFP, informed ESPN’s Heather Dinich that there are not any plans to pause the playoffs and there gained’t be alternative groups if COVID-19 outbreaks happen. Principally, the School Soccer Playoff will go on as scheduled, as a result of plans of any sort have labored out so nicely this 12 months.
As an alternative of going ahead as deliberate, school soccer ought to use this season as a possibility to be loopy in the case of the postseason.
In spite of everything, what trustworthy individual can really say they know which 4 groups are the very best within the nation this 12 months? There has not been something near resembling a degree taking part in discipline throughout the game. In a 12 months like 2020, the norm gained’t work, so right here some loopy options:
- Drop the CFP and the committee altogether (only for a season, relax) and return to the BCS. Possibly it will nonetheless favor the SEC (for as a lot hate because the BCS obtained on the finish, it did give us Miami-Ohio State, Texas-USC, Boise State-Oklahoma, TCU-Wisconsin and the record goes on), however on the very least there’d solely be one sport that may must be performed to find out a nationwide champion, moderately than three.
- Need a extra ridiculous suggestion? The nationwide championship matchup could possibly be a easy recognition contest. Fan attendance has been restricted all season lengthy, so why not let the nation resolve what sport it desires to look at on TV essentially the most. We’ve all confirmed improbable at elections, so what’s yet another vote?
- As an alternative of eliminating the playoffs, go larger. All FBS convention champions get in, there are byes for top-Energy 5 champs, with a couple of at-large groups included. Underdogs get a shot and sure get blown out, however there can be a fair taking part in discipline for everybody who makes it into the postseason.
- Another choice is to return in time additional than the BCS and let the voters resolve the nationwide champion. There is no such thing as a assure a playoff could possibly be pulled off, so why not let 100-plus folks study resumes, storylines and the like and resolve the champion, moderately than simply 12.