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Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Cincinnati Bearcats: ONE37pm’s Cotton Bowl Preview

#1 Alabama and #4 Cincinnati are traveling to Arlington, Texas, to play in the Cotton Bowl with a shot at playing in the National Championship game on the line. This game is the 7th playoff appearance for the Crimson Tide, and for the Bearcats, this will be the first time they’ve made it to the Playoff. Here are some key matchups to look out for.

Alabama Passing Attack vs. Cincinnati Secondary

The Tide’s offense has been as dominant as ever this season and continued to look the part against Georgia’s top-ranked defense. 

Heisman trophy winner Bryce Young has been one of the best players in the country, with 43 passing touchdowns to only three interceptions. Unfortunately for the Tide, they’ll be without wide receiver John Metchie who tore his ACL. Junior wide receiver Jameson Williams has shown the ability to carry the load himself with over 1,400 yards, 15 touchdowns, with only 68 catches.

However, Young and Williams will have their hands full with the Bearcats’ secondary. The Bearcats rank second against the pass in the nation, with cornerbacks Ahmad “Sauce” GardnerCoby Bryant, and Arquon Bush shutting down receiving cores all season. The trio has combined for eight interceptions and 21 passes defended. Expect Gardner to travel with Williams and play him one on one to force the other Tide receivers to make plays.

Desmond Ridder vs. Alabama Defense

Quarterback Desmond Ridder has had an up and down career at Cincinnati, but his competitiveness and play-making ability cannot be ignored. Ridder has put up 30 passing touchdowns to only eight interceptions and another six touchdowns on the ground. Alabama hasn’t been great at stopping the pass, ranking 63rd in the country. Ridder and the Bearcats’ offense should look to exploit the Tide secondary. Senior wide receiver Alec Pierce averages almost 18 yards per catch in his career, and the Bearcats should look to throw some big plays his way.

The Bearcats’ offense has also successfully run and pass the ball. Running back Jerome Ford has been sensational all year with over 1,200 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns. However, the Tide ranks 4th overall against the run, surrendering 82.8 yards per game. Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. has been a madman all season, with 15.5 sacks and nearly 30 tackles for loss. Expect the Bearcats to have a tough time running the ball against that tough Tide defense.

Prediction

This has the makings to be an all-time great game. The Tide have the experience on their side, while Cincinnati is playing with confidence only certain teams can relate to. In the end, Heisman winner Bryce Young and Coach Nick Saban outlast Ridder and the Bearcats.

Alabama 35, Cincinnati 24

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ONE37pm’s College Football Bowl Games Preview and Predictions

Tis’ the most wonderful time of the year for college football: Bowl season. The biggest bowl games outside of the college football playoffs take place this weekend with the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the Chic Fil A Peach Bowl, the Rose Bowl, and the Fiesta Bowl all kicking off. Here’s how each matchup looks.

All State Sugar Bowl: (7) Baylor vs. (8) Ole Miss

The Baylor Bears are traditionally known for their high-flying passing attack and putting up major numbers in the points column. The 2021 Bears run the ball effectively and play hard-nosed defense. Baylor running back Abram Smith has 1,400 yards rushing, averages 6.2 yards per carry, and has 12 touchdowns on the ground.

Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral and company have been putting up a ridiculous 500 yards per game and averaging 35.9 points per game. Coral has cooled off this season after looking like a Heisman front-runner early on, but he’s still had a good season with over 30 total touchdowns. This game will likely come down to whether or not Baylor’s defense can stop the Rebels offense. Baylor’s only given up 19.2 points per game to the Rebels’ 25 per game. In the end, Baylor comes out on top by controlling the clock with their run game.

Baylor 30, Ole Miss 27

Chic fil A Peach Bowl: (10) Michigan State vs. (12) Pitt

Both the Michigan State Spartans and the Pittsburgh Panthers have been pleasant surprises this past season.

The Spartans spent most of their season relying on elite running back Kenneth Walker III, while Pitt spent most of their season depending on Heisman candidate quarterback Kenny Pickett. Both Walker and Pickett have opted out, and neither will appear in the bowl game. The Spartans defense is giving up 25.7 points per game, while Pitt is letting up only 23.1. With each team’s best player missing, Pitt is potentially the better team on paper. However, without Pickett, there’s a slight chance they’ll beat a team like Michigan State. It’ll be close, but expect Michigan State to edge out Pitt.

Michigan State 26, Pitt 23

Playstation Fiesta Bowl (5) Notre Dame vs. (9) Oklahoma State

Notre Dame and Oklahoma State were both so close to making the college football playoffs but will instead face one another in what’s expected to be a great game. Unfortunately for the Fighting Irish, running back Kyren Williams and safety Kyle Hamilton won’t be present for the game. Luckily for the Irish defense, they’ve played plenty of games without all-star safety Hamilton. Oklahoma State comes in with one of the best defenses in the entire country, surrendering only 273 yards per game and a hair under 17 points per game. The Irish defense isn’t far behind as they’re only giving up 18.3 points per game. This game likely comes down to which team can get something positive going offensively. The Irish being without Williams will prove monumental, and quarterback Jack Coan will have to step up big time in his absence. Oklahoma State’s run game has been good, with Jaylen Warren having over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year. However, their quarterback play has been awful, which will be the difference in the game.

Notre Dame 24, Oklahoma State 19

Rose Bowl (6) Ohio State vs. (11) Utah

Ohio State has a host of players that have chosen to opt-out of the Rose Bowl on Saturday, including ace wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. Both defenses give up a shade under 20 points per game. On the other hand, Ohio State has the best offense in the country, averaging 500+ yards and 45 points per game, while Utah is putting up 35.5 points per game. This game comes down to which team can stop the run better because both teams have elite run games. In the end, the absences of Wilson and Olave prove to be too much.

Utah 30, Ohio State 27

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Five Underrated NFL Draft Prospects

The college football regular season has come to an end and bowl season is upon us. Next up, NFL draft season. Every year, there are a handful of hidden gems, so here are our best attempts to unearth them. 

Bailey Zappe

Western Kentucky University quarterback Bailey Zappe had debatably the best season a quarterback has ever had. His numbers are monstrous: Zappe threw for almost 6,000 yards, completed 69.3% of his passes, and threw for 62 touchdowns to only 11 interceptions. Additionally, Zappe won Conference USA MVP, won offensive player of the week four times and got an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Although he shows good touch on deep passes, and is a solid athlete, Zappe is curiously seldom mentioned among the draft community. But with his production and a weak QB class, Zappe has a chance to turn hands and catch some momentum. 

Nolan Smith
Steve Limentani

All season long, the University of Georgia defense has been the best in the nation, headlined by big names like Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean. But lost amongst all these potential first-round picks, linebacker Nolan Smith is hidden in plain sight. A former 5 star recruit, Smith has the 6’3, 235-pound Smith is a freakish athlete. More than just having physical gifts, though, Smith knows how to utilize them effectively; he’s strong enough to rush the passer every play, but also has the quickness to make plays in space. Smith may only have 7.5 career sacks and 10 tackles for loss, but this is simply the product of his role within such a fierce defense. Smith is a junior and hasn’t declared. However, if he does forego his senior year, teams with a need for a pass rusher better open their eyes. 

Brian Robinson Jr
Kevin Liles

Brian Robinson Jr has had a very productive year for the Tide. The public is used to Bama backs putting up crazy numbers and glossed over Robinson’s consistent productivity as a result, but senior back rushed for 1,064 yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Robinson also adds value in the passing game with 32 catches 268 yards and two touchdowns. Robinson is a big physical runner that also possesses good speed and utility in the passing game—in other words, he’s the perfect NFL back. Robinson may not be the first (or second or even third) back off the board, but expect him to do big things in the NFL. 

Jaquarii Roberson
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Wake Forest Wide Receiver Jaquarii Roberson has been the epitome of production in 2021. Through 13 games, he’s put up 71 catches for 1,078 yards and eight touchdowns. Last year, in nine games, Roberson was similarly productive, catching 62 passes for 926 yards and eight touchdowns. A solid route runner with good size and strong hands, Roberson doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses. Even if Roberson isn’t as dynamic as some of the other guys, he has the potential to be a really good NFL wide receiver. 

Jalen Pitre
Ron Jenkins

Baylor safety Jalen Pitre is on of the best kept secrets in the country. Pitre is the definition of Swiss Army knife. On any given play, he might line up in the box or the slot or back deep. Moreover, Pitre had a monstrously productive and well-rounded season: he had 28.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, five sacks, nine passes defensed, four forced fumbles, three recovered and two touchdowns. In today’s games, safeties must be versatile and Pitre fits that exact mold perfectly. 

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College Basketball Power Rankings

The college basketball season has been exciting so far and things are taking shape. Upsets have occurred, stars are blooming and some teams are down right dominating. Here’s the top five teams so far.

Duke

The Duke Blue Devils are ranked #2 in the country and currently sit at 8-1. Duke already has two impressive wins, with one over Kentucky to start the season and a huge win against Gonzaga. The Blue Devils are playing smart team ball. They’re out-rebounding, and out-assisting their opponents. Additionally, they’re shooting 48 percent from the field while keeping their opponents to 40 percent. Freshman sensation Paolo Banchero has been great all season, averaging 17.1 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game. The Blue Devils look like the best team in the country so far.

Baylor
David Becker/Stringer

Baylor is fresh off a championship and thus far look primed to make a run at repeating. Baylor is ranked #1 and remain undefeated at 9-0. Baylor has wins against Michigan State, and they’ve dominated everyone else. They’ve been lights out on defense. Baylor held #6 Villanova to 36 points on 22.2 percent shooting from the field. They’re beating opponents by almost 27 points per game while shooting 47.5 percent from the field. As long as Baylor continues to defend, they’ll be right in the thick of things.

Gonzaga
Tim Nwachukwu

Gonzaga is the deepest team in the country and has two impressive wins with wins over UCLA and Texas. The Bulldogs offense has been superb all year, shooting 53 percent from the field and averaging 85.6 points per game. Additionally, the Bulldogs have been dominant on the boards, out-rebounding teams by 14 per game. Junior big man, Drew Timme has been as dependable as they come; the preseason National Player of the Year has met expectations by averaging 18 points and six rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Julian Strawther has enjoyed a breakout season, averaging 14 points per game, and shooting 41 percent from behind the arc. The Bulldogs are currently 8-2 with both losses coming to ranked teams. After Saturday vs #25 Texas Tech, it’ll be smooth sailings for the Bulldogs through conference play.

Arizona
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Arizona is #9 and are currently 10-0. The Wildcats had a solid 80-62 win over Michigan early. After their thrilling 83-79 win over Illinois, the Wildcats deserve some national respect. The competition hasn’t been amazing, but they’re absolutely dominating. The Wildcats are averaging 91.7 points and holding teams to 63.1 points per game. Sophomore guard Bennedict Mathurin has been sensational for the Wildcats—thus far he’s putting up almost 18 points and seven rebounds. With the University of Tennessee and UCLA coming up on the Wildcats schedule, Arizona will once again have an opportunity to prove their contender-bonafides. But for now, they belong fourth on the list.

UCLA
Katharine Lotze

The Bruins are 8-1 and are currently ranked #4. They’ve been challenged twice having won once and losing once. They beat Villanova early on 86-77, but fell to Gonzaga 63-83. The Bruins offense has been cooking as they’re shooting 39 percent from three. Additionally, they’re averaging 16 assists per game and only ten turnovers. Junior guard Johnny Juzang has been really good, averaging 16.6 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game. Jaime Jaquez is averaging 14.8 points and almost seven rebounds per game. Beyond their star duo, the Bruins have two other players who average double digit points. The Bruins are fifth in the power rankings, but expect them to be one of the last teams hanging around come March.

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Top Offensive Players in the College Football Playoffs

The college football playoff lineup is set! Both games take place December 31, 2021, with Georgia playing Michigan and Alabama taking on Cincinnati. Alabama and Cincy both have electric offenses, while Georgia and Michigan’s offenses are more old-school smash-mouth systems. Here are the top offensive threats for each team.

Alabama Quarterback, Bryce Young.

Last Saturday December 10, Bryce Young won the Heisman award and it was well-deserved; Young has been spectacular all season long. He’s surpassed 4,00 passing yards and threw for 43 touchdowns to only four interceptions. Young’s late heroics against Auburn saved Bama’s season, while his performance against Georgia’s top-ranked defense in the SEC Championship game showed how lethal he truly is. Against the Bulldogs, Young threw for over 400 yards, three touchdown passes and added another on the ground. Cincy’s defense is tough and their secondary has been good all season, but expect Young to have another solid performance as he tries to propel the Tide to another national championship appearance.

Cincy Running back, Jerome Ford.

Although quarterback Desmond Ridder is probably the bigger star and better player, running back Jerome Ford is equally intriguing, having transferred from Alabama to Cincy before the 2020 season. While was good for Cincy last year, he has been stellar this season, rushing for 1,238 yards, 6.2 yards per carry and 19 touchdowns. Ford has been one of the most dependable players on the team this season. He erupted in the teams’ last game against Houston going for 18 carries 187 yards and two touchdowns. Fortunately, Bama’s run defense hasn’t been stout all season, so Ford has a chance to have a huge game against his former team.

UGA Running back, James Cook.

Georgia running back James Cook is a big play waiting to happen. He’s as versatile as they come, able line up in the backfield, in the slot and out wide. Cook is averaging 6.1 yards per carry this season and he has seven touchdowns on the ground. While his rushing numbers are relatively modest, he’s deadly in the passing game; this season he already has three receiving touchdowns on only 21 catches. Look for him to get 10+ touches against Michigan, since the Wolverine linebackers and safeties will have their hands full defending Cook.

Michigan Running back, Hassan Haskins

Hassan Haskins has been a gift from above for Michigan. He’s put together some really big games including a 28 carries, 169 yards and five touchdown game against rival Ohio State. Haskins is a workhorse and has scored 20 touchdowns on the season, averages 4.9 yards per carry and rushed for 1,288 yards on the season. Michigan will need to lean heavily on Haskins while going against that fierce Georgia front. Haskins running the ball will be a major factor in the game and could be the deciding one.

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College Football Championship Weekend

The college football regular season has ended and championship season is among us. The Big 10 championship has two new faces in Michigan and Iowa. In the Big 12, Oklahoma State has a chance to crash the College Football Playoffs with a conference title. And, in the weekend’s headliner, and Georgia and Alabama square off for the second time in Kirby Smart’s stint. Brace yourselves!

University of Georgia (1) Vs. Alabama (4)

The University of Georgia and The University of Alabama is a battle of heavyweights. Georgia comes in at 12-0 and Bama comes in at 11-1. Usually it’s ‘Bama coming in with an elite defense and Georgia an elite offense, but in 2021 the tables have turned. The main matchup will be Bama’s offense against the Dawgs’ defense. Tide quarterback Bryce Young has been absolutely amazing all season and they’ll need him to continue his Heisman-worthy play on Saturday. The Dawgs’ defensive line has been fierce all season and will definitely have a huge impact on the game. Georgia’s defense is one of the best of the century great and it just feels like the Dawgs’ year.

Prediction: Georgia 29, Alabama 19

University of Michigan (2) vs. Iowa (15)

Believe it or not, this is Michigan’s first ever appearance in the Big 10 championship. Michigan is 11-1 and a win would put them in the College Football Playoffs. On the other end, Iowa is 10-2 and making their second appearance in the game. Both teams are predominately anchored by their defenses as they’ve both suffocating offenses all season long. Iowa’s Dane Belton and Riley Moss will be patrolling the airways as they’ve combined for nine interceptions so far this year. However, Michigan pass rushers David Ojabo and Aidan Hutchinson have been wreaking havoc on quarterbacks all season long with 24 combined sacks. Iowa consistently has one of the better offensive lines, so it’ll be a matchup to see. Michigans’ run game has been top tier and they’ll more than likely be too much for Iowa to contain. Expect Michigan to be named Big 10 champions on Saturday.

Michigan 30, Iowa 17

Utah (14) vs. Oregon (10)

Less than two weeks ago, the Oregon Ducks traveled to Utah and got annihilated by the Utes 38-7. Utah controlled the game in all three phases and ended the Ducks’ hopes of a college football playoff birth. On Saturday, the Ducks will get a chance at revenge, facing the Utes in the Pac 12 championship. The Ducks will need to lean on quarterback Anthony Brown and running back Travis Dye. On defense, they’ll need production from defensive standout Kayvon Thibodeaux, the presumptive top pick in next year’s NFL Draft. Utah will again depend on their defense to slow down that Oregon offense; pass-rushers Mika Tafua and Devin Lloyd will look to be all over Brown, making it tough for him to pass the ball. A second blowout is doubtful and this game has the makings to really come down to the fourth quarter. However, Utah wins again.

Prediction: Utah 34, Oregon 31

Oklahoma State(5) vs. Baylor (9)

The Big 12 championship has the makings to be the best game this weekend. Oklahoma State is playing for a chance at the college football playoffs, and Baylor is playing spoiler. Both Oklahoma State and Baylor have brought defense to the Big 12, leaning on their respective defense and run game all year. Abram Smith has been a workhorse for the Baylor offense all season with 1000+ yards and 12 touchdowns, and will look to continue it against a solid Oklahoma State defense. On the other end, Oklahoma State running back Jaylen Warren has been a superstar all season with over 1100 yards and 11 touchdowns while averaging almost five yards per carry. This game will likely come down to which team can stop the others run game, however expect plenty of points to be scored.

Prediction: Oklahoma State 31, Baylor 29

Pittsburgh (17) vs. Wake Forest (18)

The ACC championship features two new faces, after several years of Clemson dominating the conference. Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett has terrorized defenses all season long and looks to do the same on Saturday. Wide receiver Jordan Addison has been Picketts’ right hand man with 17 touchdowns on the season. Similarly, Wake Forest has a high powered offense that goes through sophomore quarterback sensation Sam Hartman, who has thrown for 34 touchdowns, 3,711 yards and only 10 interceptions. Although they don’t have an option as dominant as Addison, Wake Forest has a deep receiving corps with two 1,000 yard wide receivers. Don’t expect either teams’ defense to have much of an impact as this has the makings to be a shootout.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 45, Wake Forest 42

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College Basketball Power Rankings

The first month of the college basketball season has elapsed and it hasn’t disappointed so far. Heavyweights have battled and the rankings have been scrambled on multiple occasions. With teams approaching the ten-game mark, here’s how our rankings are taking shape.

#1 Purdue Boilermakers

The Boilermakers have been nothing short of sensational this season, currently sitting at 7-0 with good wins against North Carolina and Villanova. Outside of those two games, the Boilermakers haven’t had much competition but they’ve annihilated those weaker opponents. The Boilermakers have four different players averaging double digit points, led by sophomore center Zach Edey’s 16.9 points per game. Purdue has definitely looked to be the best team in the country so far.

#2 Duke Blue Devils
Grant Halverson

The Blue Devils came into the season with high hopes of a championship, and so far they’ve made good on that potential. Freshman Paolo Banchero has been absolutely amazing for the Blue Devils ,averaging 19 points per game and shooting 50 percent from the field. Despite taking a bad loss to Ohio State. However, the Blue Devils have two of the best wins in the country, beating Gonzaga and Kentucky on a neutral court.Duke is definitely appears to be the second best team in the country at the moment.

#3 Gonzaga Bulldogs
Tim Nwachukwu

The Bulldogs have started off really good and look primed to be among the last teams standing in March. With wins over Texas and UCLA, the Bulldogs are rolling. Their only loss was a 84-81 instant-classic to Duke. Junior Drew Timme has been as good and reliable as ever, averaging 17.4 points per game so far. The good news for the Bulldogs is the meat of their schedule has already passed, and the remaining schedule is weak; it would be a minor shock if they dropped more than one game the rest of the year. For now, they belong at #3 with plenty of time regaining the #1 spot.

#4 Kentucky Wildcats
Andy Lyons

The Wildcats are 6-1 with their only loss coming opening night against Duke. The Wildcats have played a weak schedule but they’ve dominated each and every game. It’s truly a group effort from the Wildcats as different players contribute in different ways. Oscar Tshiebwe is going to give any team problems in the paint. He’s averaging 14 points, 16 rebounds and almost two blocks per game. The Wildcats are really good, and belong here at four.

#5 Baylor Bears
David Becker/Stringer

Baylor is coming off a championship year and at times it looks as if they haven’t missed a beat, even after losing their three best players from last season. They have two wins over average teams in Arizona State and Michigan State. Although the rest of their wins are against weaker opponents, Baylor has utterly dominated sub-par opponents. Last year, their suffocating defense was the main reason they hoisted the trophy and this year that team defense has returned; the Bears haven’t given up more than 63 points to anyone all season. The Bears haven’t been overly impressive, but they definitely belong here.

#6 Arizona Wildcats
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Arizona belongs in the top five conversation. They beat Michigan 80-62 when Michigan was ranked #4. Additionally, they beat a solid Wichita State team 82-78. Junior Center Christian Koloko has been really good for the Wildcats averaging 16.2 points per game. The Wildcats have games against Tennessee, and UCLA later this month so we’ll get a better view of who they really are.

Fringe Teams

UCLA and Villanova both came into the season ranked in the top five, but both have fallen out because of concerning losses (‘Nova dropped games to UCLA and Purdue while UCLA got demolished by Gonzaga). However, both squads still have immense talent and have the make-up of potential Final Four teams.

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Four of the Coolest NIL Deals

Since they came into existence over the summer, NIL (name, image, likeness) deals are still rearranging the atmosphere of collegiate athletics. While there are plenty of standard sponsorship offering major money and merch, some athletes have pursued deals that have been downright cool and different.  

Alabama freshman defensive back Ga’Quincy McKinstry signed a deal with popular drink company Kool-Aid. Repped by Vaynersports, McKinistry has been called “Kool-Aid” as his nickname for most of his life, so this deal was only right. This isn’t merely a family nickname: McKintry’s name is actually listed as ‘Kool-Aid’ on the Alabama football site.  

Fresno State Women Basketball players Haley and Hannah Cavinder haven’t left a stone unturned when it comes to NIL deals. The twin sisters have been making a name for themselves off the court before NIL deals with almost four million followers on TikTok. On the first day NIL deals became legal, the Cavinder twins cashed in quickly by signing a deal with cell-provider Boost Mobile, which was announced via a massive billboard in Times Square. Additionally, on the same day, the twins signed another deal with Six Star Pro Nutrition, a supplements company. In October the twins signed a deal with underwear company PSD Underwear that gave them a chance to design their own collection of underwear for the company. Imagine signing major deals with your twin, doesn’t get much cooler than that. 

In September, Florida Atlantic University quarterback N’Kosi Perry became the first player to sign a deal with an alcohol company, inking a deal with Islamorada Beer, a company with strong ties to FAU. Perry transferred from the University of Miami to FAU and it paid off for him. Perry became close with a kid who Josh Herrera (a co-owner of Islamorada Beer) was fostering, which allowed Herrera to see what a wonderful person Perry is. Win-win for everyone involved. 

University of Georgia Gymnast Rachel Baumann and ex Georgia Tech quarterback Jordan Yates crossed over and have inked deals with the Atlanta Braves. The Braves became the first Major League Baseball team to have NIL deals in place with athletes that don’t play baseball. Each of them received a $500 stipend, and a commission percentage on tickets sold on their socials and Braves apparel. Coincidentally, the Braves have since gone on to win the World Series.

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College Football Playoff Picture

After the last three weeks the college football playoff landscape, Championship Week is finally here. Ohio State, Oregon and Oklahoma all took bad losses that have essentially eliminated them from the college football playoffs while Notre Dame and Oklahoma State have quietly played themselves into the mix. Here we go:

1. University of Georgia Bulldogs


The University of Georgia sits at 12-0, and absolutely ran through the SEC, making them the clear-cut best team in the country at this point The Dawgs beat multiple ranked teams on their romp through the SEC and haven’t played a close game since their 10-3 victory over Clemson in Week One. Georgia faces Alabama in the SEC championship on Saturday, December 4. Regardless of the outcome, the Dawgs are making the college football playoffs.

2. University of Michigan Wolverines

For the first time in a long time, the University of Michigan is really good. The Wolverines go into the Big 10 championship at 11-1, with their only loss coming against their rival Michigan State. The Wolverine defense has been characteristically stout and they’ve held every opponent under 30 points with the exception of Michigan State. Michigan has Iowa left on their schedule in the Big 10 championship. With a win on Saturday, they’ll undoubtedly punch their tickets into the college football playoffs, likely as the second seed.

3. University of Alabama Crimson Tide

The University of Alabama has a very intriguing situation. They’ve already lost, but they’ve been ranked in the top four since the rankings have started to release. Additionally, Bama has Georgia in the SEC championship on Saturday. If Bama beats Georgia, not only do they make the playoffs, they potentially jump to #1. However, if Bama loses to Georgia, they’ll likely drop to four or five. There’s a chance Bama loses and still makes the playoffs. For now, Bama should be ranked third with their only hiccup coming against Texas A&M earlier in the season. Bamas’ best and most definite bet is to beat Georgia, and they’ll be in the big dance.

4. University of Cincinnati Bearcats

Cincy absolutely has to be ranked #4. The Bearcats have an unblemished record and had a solid win over #6 Notre Dame. Cincy only has #16 Houston left on their schedules and if they win they should be in at four.

5. Oklahoma State Cowboys

If one of the top four teams lose, with the exception of Georgia, that leaves the door open for Oklahoma State (if they win the Big 12 championship). However, Notre Dame looms as a real threat to crash the playoffs even though they don’t play this week—their only loss has been to Cincinnati, so they could swoop in to poach a spot if Alabama, Michigan or Cincy lose.


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Lincoln Riley Named New Head Coach at USC

Lincoln Riley is leaving the University of Oklahoma to become the head coach at the University of Southern California. The announcement came Sunday, November 28, after he denied multiple reports of him going to LSU and reassured the fanbase of his allegiance to the Sooners’ moving forward. ” All of us are trying to make this place better, make this program better,” Riley said during a press conference on Saturday, “and so you don’t do that without working together and conversing with each other. So of course we’re gonna continue to do that. We work well together, and we’re going to keep working well together.” 

Riley spent five seasons as the Sooners’ head coach, finishing with a 55-10 regular season record, a 1-3 bowl record, including an 0-3 playoff record. Additionally, Riley had won four consecutive Big 12 titles. With their loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday, this season marks the first time in his tenure at Oklahoma where the Sooners will miss the Big 12 championship.

Apparently Riley is taking a few staffers with him to USC—defensive coordinator Alex Grinch and Wide Receivers coach Dennis Simmons to name a few. 

Riley has shown to be somewhat of a quarterback guru his whole tenure at Oklahoma. Fortunately, Riley will inherit USC quarterback Jaxson Dart, who flashed and showed the ability to be a really good quarterback. To add to that, the Trojans have plenty of young talent at the wide receiver position including sophomores Tahj Washington and Gary Bryant Jr

USC is currently ranked 67th in recruiting, but we can be rest assured they will come storming up that list as Riley is a masterful recruiter. Riley brought in multiple five-star quarterbacks while at Oklahoma, and he landed a huge transfer in Jalen Hurts. Additionally, he’s landed multiple big time receivers and a host of other special talent. 

The Trojans are in good hands moving forward. 

Unfortunately for the Sooners, former starting quarterback Spencer Rattler recently announced he was leaving Oklahoma and entered the transfer portal. Though he was no longer the starter, his absence will be felt moving forward. Additionally, they’ve already lost multiple big name top recruits, including class of 2022 linebacker Kobie McKinzie. To make matters worse, 2023 recruits got a whiff of the news and the news affected their signing. Class of 2023 Five star quarterback Malachi Nelson decommitted after hearing the news of Lincoln. Wide receiver Brandon Inniss is the 6th ranked prospect in Florida and the 29th recruit in the 2023 class, it’ll be a big blow to Oklahoma moving forward. After Nelson, running back Raleek Brown may have been the biggest player to hint at not attending Oklahoma. It hasn’t become official, but Brown stated Lincoln leaving would change a lot for him. Brown is the 60th ranked overall prospect. Furthermore, Brown is the second ranked California prospect and he was highly recruited by USC before ultimately choosing to sign with the Sooners.

To add more fuel to the fire, the Sooners are set to join the SEC sometime before 2025. 

Riley on the other hand, will have it much easier at USC. He’s joining the PAC12 where the competition is a bit thinner than it is in the Big12 and especially thinner than the SEC competition. No matter how you shape it, Oklahoma losing Riley is a huge loss for the program, and a big gain for USC.