The winner of the USC-UCLA soccer sport will management its personal future and have a viable path to the College Football Playoff semifinals.
Let that sink in.
The crosstown rivalry will imply rather more than bragging rights or bringing dwelling the Victory Bell.
I’ve been ringing this bell for weeks now, attempting to jar Trojans and Bruins followers out of their consolation zones. The fan bases couldn’t be extra completely different in so some ways, however currently, with each groups exhibiting shocking would possibly, it’s been stunning to see how a lot they share. They don’t wish to get harm, so that they’d somewhat defend themselves from caring about competing for a nationwide championship within the nation’s second-most common sport.
For USC people, as excited as they’re by Lincoln Riley’s stirring first season, the overwhelming vibe is: “Yes, this is fun, but we’re not playoff-level good yet, so why go take our embarrassing beatdown against Georgia in a playoff semifinal when we could possibly win a meaningless New Year’s Six bowl game? Caleb Williams will be back, so next year is our year.”
For the UCLA devoted, as inspired as they’re by Chip Kelly’s tradition all of a sudden clicking into place, the sensation is: “There’s no way we truly deserve these legitimate football hopes. Basketball season has begun, and Pauley Pavilion is now selling beer and wine, did you hear?”
If Saturday’s outcomes throughout the nation gained’t get up L.A. faculty soccer followers and get them to lock of their tickets for Nov. 19’s showdown on the Rose Bowl, nothing will.
- No. 3 Georgia pummeled No. 1 Tennessee, 27-13, between the hedges in Athens, Ga. The defending nationwide champions reestablished themselves and dealt with the Volunteers with ease.
- Later Saturday in South Bend, Ind., Notre Dame demolished No. 4 Clemson 35-14. The Tigers had been enjoying with fireplace all season lengthy, and now their playoff hopes are just about burned.
- In Baton Rouge, La., Brian Kelly stitched himself into Louisiana State lore in his first season on the bayou, because the Tenth-ranked Tigers upset No. 6 Alabama 32-31 on a gutsy two-point conversion in extra time. Even the Crimson Tide, with two losses, now have one too many blemishes to benefit from the CFP choice committee’s countless good thing about the doubt.
Inside an hour Saturday night time, Alabama and Clemson had been principally eradicated from playoff rivalry. That’s wild — and precisely what USC and UCLA followers wanted (no less than, amongst those that rightfully had been permitting themselves to dream large).
The image for the four-team playoff whose championship sport can be performed at SoFi Stadium Monday, Jan. 9, simply turned a lot clearer.
Georgia is in. With convincing wins over Oregon and Tennessee, the Bulldogs have earned a shot to defend their title. They aren’t going to lose twice from right here.
The winner of Ohio State-Michigan in Columbus Nov. 26 is in. The group that wins The Sport and the Massive Ten East title is extraordinarily unlikely to lose to the Massive Ten West division’s champion the following week.
Think about two spots open then. The candidates:
No. 1 Tennessee (8-1)
No. 4 Clemson (8-1)
No. 6 Alabama (7-2)
No. 7 Texas Christian (9-0)
No. 8 Oregon (8-1)
No. 9 USC (8-1)
No. 10 LSU (7-2)
No. 11 Mississippi (8-1)
No. 12 UCLA (8-1)
The Ohio State-Michigan loser
That record is being very beneficiant. For now, we will begin by eliminating any group with two losses. LSU and Alabama, thanks for a tremendous soccer sport Saturday night time, however you’re out. Clemson was overrated to start with and gained’t make the lower except it’s full-on Armageddon from right here. Ole Miss’ path is extraordinarily slim (the Rebels have to win out and have LSU lose, then beat Georgia within the SEC title sport — not taking place).
If TCU wins out, it ought to be in. I don’t anticipate that may occur, as a result of the Horned Frogs nonetheless play at Baylor and at Texas and can face one other high quality group within the Massive 12 championship sport. Based mostly on the unique No. 7 rating, TCU can’t take a loss and make the playoff semifinals. (To be clear, USC and UCLA followers ought to be rooting very exhausting in opposition to TCU).
If TCU did win out, the fourth spot would come right down to the Pac-12 champion (assuming it’s a one-loss Oregon, USC or UCLA) or one-loss Tennessee (assuming the Vols don’t get upset later this month).
A 12-1 USC or UCLA might really feel very assured about its possibilities to be invited to the CFP over 11-1 Tennessee for the next causes:
- The choice committee has to worth Energy 5 convention champions when résumés are comparable.
- Tennessee-Georgia was so lopsided, no person will wish to see a rematch, and we should keep in mind it’s the CFP’s job to arrange compelling tv programming for 3 coveted slots between the semifinals and title sport.
- The Vols are group and a feel-good story, however their Alabama second was cheapened by LSU’s Alabama second. It’s clear to anybody paying shut consideration that Alabama merely isn’t elite in 2022, as stunning as which may be.
Notre Dame’s win over Clemson helped USC twofold. The Tigers are out of the way in which, and the Combating Irish would now be a top-25 victory for the Trojans. It units up USC’s ending stretch as top-10 UCLA, top-25 Notre Dame and — if the Trojans beat the Bruins and Oregon wins out — top-10 Oregon. To me, USC is a lock to the playoff if it someway goes 12-1.
Should you don’t get pleasure from considering in hypotheticals, the flawed four-team playoff format just isn’t for you.
Please don’t be confused: I’m not saying that USC and UCLA are nice, transcendent groups that deserve an exalted place of their faculty annals. I’m saying that they now have a crystal-clear path to the playoff semifinals this yr — a yr by which the championship occurs to be performed at SoFi Stadium.
Nov. 19 can’t get right here quickly sufficient.