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Pac-12 craziness could end this week

first_imgI’m not exactly the first to say this, but whatever makes college football make sense stopped working last week.In a three-day span starting on Thursday, 11 ranked teams lost, including four of the top six squads in the nation. After upset wins from Mississippi State and Ole Miss, a state with three FBS programs has as many teams ranked in the top-four of the AP Poll (two) as the state of California has in the entire top-25.Pandemonium · The Pac-12 conference has seen its share of wild endings so far this season. Arizona defeated Cal on a last-second Hail Mary last month, while USC suffered the same fate against Arizona State on Saturday. – Tony Zhou | Daily Trojan Heisman front-runners such as Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Texas A&M’s Kenny Hill looked entirely ordinary, while Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson — who missed all of last season while under academic suspension — completed a miraculous, Matt Leinart-esque 4th-and-11 pass to beat Stanford.Nowhere was this week of weirdness more apparent than in the Pac-12 conference. For the second time in as many seasons, Mariota and the Ducks fell victim to the unstoppable force that is Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright, losing 31-24 at home. Oregon dropped from No. 2 to No. 12 in the AP Poll, while the Wildcats rose to No. 10, becoming the conference’s highest-ranked team for the first time since 1999.Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday set an NCAA record with 734 passing yards in a game against Cal that featured 119 combined points, only to eventually watch his team lose on a missed 19-yard field goal. Utah used a backup quarterback, a miraculous catch and four field goals to upset then-No. 8 UCLA. What was left of Stanford’s playoff hopes were dashed on the aforementioned Golson throw. And then there was a Hail Mary. We all saw it. I don’t want to talk about it.When the dust settled, Arizona was left as the conference’s only top-10 team. ASU and Utah jumped into the top-25 at No. 20 and No. 24, respectively, while the Bruins fell to the 18th slot. Rounding out the group is Stanford at No. 25. And if you think the AP poll is out of whack, take a look at the Pac-12 standings. The plucky Wildcats are the kings of the south with an undefeated record. In the north, the Golden Bears’ improbable win over Halliday and the Cougars gave Sonny Dykes’ squad — owners of a 0-9 conference record just a year ago — sole possession of first place at 2-1.But wait, it gets weirder! If not for Arizona’s Hail Mary win — I’m really starting to dislike that phrase — over Cal a few weeks ago, the Bears would be the conference’s only unbeaten team, a full two wins clear of any competition in the Pac-12 North.Alright. Take a breather. You probably need one, especially if you’re a fan of USC, UCLA, Oregon, Cal, ASU, Washington State, Utah, Arizona or, come to think of it, pretty much any college football team in the nation this year. Things will get easier, or at least more predictable.As muddled as the last month or so of Pac-12 play has made just about everything, this week’s slate should put the 2014 season back on track. I think.Four Pac-12 teams are out of action this weekend, leaving four intriguing conference matchups. The main event features Oregon visiting the Rose Bowl to take on UCLA, a contest between two teams that came into the year with high expectations both looking to avoid consecutive losses. Given the Ducks’ still-dynamic offense and the Bruins’ weakness in all non-Brett Hundley areas, Oregon should take this one pretty handily.Stanford hosts Washington State on Friday in a game that I’m sure will sound the upset horn among prognosticators, especially considering the Cardinal’s sudden inability to score points, something the Cougars’ are pretty good at. Still, I’m not sold. Even given what head coach Mike Leach has done to improve Wazzu as an all-around football team, the Cardinal dominated last year’s matchup, winning 55-17 on the road. It’s not like either of these teams have changed strategies in the past 12 months. I think the better team gets the job done here as well.Cal and Washington, two teams that boast 4-1 overall records yet are on opposite ends of the Pac-12 North standings, will square off in Berkeley on Saturday. The Bears can clearly put up points and have a legitimate special teams star in Trevor Davis, but their defense is an absolute mystery. Fortunately for Cal fans, the squad is facing a Washington squad that has been anything but impressive in its first five games under new head coach Chris Petersen. I’ll give the Bears the edge on this one.Finally, there’s Saturday’s nightcap: a duel in the desert between the surging Arizona Wildcats and the reeling USC Trojans.Whether it’s my Trojan fandom or my belief in regression to the mean, I have a good feeling about this game. USC is not as bad as it showed during parts of last week’s loss, and the Wildcats are not the world-beaters they appear to be after five games — remember, Arizona snuck past UTSA by three points and struggled to score on a now-nonexistent Cal defense for three quarters. Trojans get the win.If my predictions indeed come true, the wild, wacky and wonderfully weird Pac-12 will get a lot more normal. Cal would still have the edge up north, but with an upcoming bye week and matchups with Stanford and playoff-hopeful Oregon to come, that edge is pretty slim. In the south, the Trojans would actually take the lead — for now. If USC wins out, not a guarantee by any stretch of the imagination, it still loses a head-to-head tiebreaker with ASU.So that’s that. A weird year in the Pac-12 could very well calm down this week. Or UCLA could beat Oregon on a last-second fake field-goal Hail Mary from Hundley to Jerry Neuheisel. Who knows? Will Hanley is a junior majoring in political science and communication. He is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Sports Willustrated,” runs Thursdays. To comment on this story, visit dailytrojan.com or email Will at whanley@usc.edu.last_img read more

Syracuse football recruiting: Safety/OLB Rashad Smith flips commitment from Florida Atlantic to SU

first_img Published on January 24, 2016 at 11:13 am Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds Just committed to play at Syracuse University ️it’s a blessing to say I’m done with the recruiting process. #Cuse pic.twitter.com/DGGVb9w9BC— RISE⃣TO⃣ POWER (@RashadSmith24) January 24, 2016AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSmith was recruited as an outside linebacker, according to Scout.com. He joins Andrew Armstrong and Kenneth Ruff as linebackers in the Orange’s 2016 recruiting class. The Homestead (Florida) High School product is ranked with three stars and as the 135th best outside linebacker in the 2016 class, according to 247Sports.com’s composite rankings. Comments Related Stories Syracuse football recruiting: Class of 2016 linebacker Kenneth Ruff flips pledge to SyracuseClass of 2016 LB commit Andrew Armstrong on Syracuse: ‘I just fell in love with it from the start’Syracuse football recruiting: 2016 safety Evan Foster chooses SU after decommitting from Bowling GreenSyracuse football recruiting: Jaquwan Nelson becomes 3rd defensive end in 2016 classSyracuse football recruiting: Defensive tackle McKinley Williams becomes 17th member of 2016 class Class of 2016 safety/outside linebacker Rashad Smith flipped his commitment from Florida Atlantic to Syracuse, he announced in a tweet Sunday morning. Smith is now the 20th member of SU’s 2016 recruiting class with a week and a half until National Signing Day on Feb. 3.Smith chose the Orange while on his official visit and is the sixth player to commit to Syracuse in the past 24 hours. He is the eighth player in the class from Florida. Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

India spank Harambee Stars in Mumbai

first_imgStars will now need to win their final round-robin match against Chinese Taipei on Friday to book a slot in Sunday’s final after starting off their campaign with a 2-1 win over New Zealand on Saturday.India on the other hand started off with a 5-0 thrashing of Chinese Taipei.It was a difficult outing for Sebastien Migne’s charges who were forced to play long balls because of the soggy nature of the pitch and they had few chances to score.The game opened up in the second half and Kenya almost had the opener in the 49th minute when Ovella Ochieng burst through the centre of the Indian defence but could only shoot inches wide of the goal.Harambee Stars players celebrate one of their goals during their Heroes InterContinental Cup match against New Zealand at the Mumbai Arena on June 2, 2018. PHOTO/Indian Football AssociationBut the Indians got the much needed opener in the 68th minute after they were awarded a penalty after Chhetri was hacked inside the box by Michael Kibwage. The skipper stepped up to score.Two minutes later, the Indians were 2-0 up when Lalpekhlua lit up the full to capacity arena with a wonderful shot from range that found keeper Matasi flat footed.Kenya tried to push in for an equalizer attempting to use Piston Mutamba’s height in attack but they couldn’t break the backline. Substitute Mark Makwatta came close with a shot from range but the Indian keeper saved.Chhetri then drove the final nail into Kenya’s coffin with a beauty of a goal, chipping the ball over Matasi after India launched a counter attack.Migne had made only one change from the team that won on Saturday, bringing in Dennis Odhiambo for Makwatta. The tactician was forced into a change pre-match after left back Eric Ouma suffered an injury during warm up and was replaced by Bolton Omwenga.Meanwhile, the stadium was full to capacity after captain Sunil Chhetri’s emotional plea for fans to support the team after barely 2,500 people turned up to watch them play against Chinese Taipei.Chhetri’s heartfelt appeal — backed by India’s cricket heroes Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar — went viral on social media, prompting fans to shell out for tickets.Every seat in the 15,000-capacity Mumbai Football Arena was quickly sold with one fan buying more than 1,000 tickets for the Intercontinental Cup game.Chhetri’s plea came after India thrashed Taiwan 5-0 in front of just 2,569 people in the Mumbai stadium on Friday.The disheartened Chhetri, who scored a hat-trick in the match, said in a Twitter video: “To everyone who has lost hope in Indian football I request you to come and watch us in the stadiums.0Shares0000(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000India and Kenya players walk off the pitch at half time during their Heroes InterContinental Cup at the Mumbai Arena on June 4, 2018. PHOTO/Indian Football AssociationNAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 4- Skipper Sunil Chhetri notched a brace on his 100th cap as India thumped Kenya’s Harambee Stars 3-0 in their second match at the four-nation InterContinental Heroes Cup at a water-logged Mumbai Arena on Monday night.After a barren first half, Chhetri opened the scoring in the 68th minute from the penalty spot before Jeje Lalpekhlua scored the second two minutes later. The skipper then put the icing on the cake in the second minute of added time as India picked their second win of the tournament.last_img read more

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