Faculty Soccer Week 12 preview: USC tries to maintain Pac-12 CFP hopes alive


The college football regular season is quickly approaching its conclusion, and there’s nonetheless a lot to be determined. 

Whereas the highest of the College Football Playoff rankings barely modified after Week 11, a shakeup is on the horizon as the ultimate two weeks of the common season are performed out. 

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Michigan and Ohio State will sq. off to resolve the winner of the Huge Ten East and a transparent path to the CFP.

For that matchup to be a must-see, the Wolverines and the Buckeyes each should win in Week 12. 

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TCU additionally seems to stay unbeaten after locking up a spot within the Huge 12 championship sport, and USC will attempt to hold the Pac-12 from being shut out of the CFP a sixth straight yr with a go to throughout city to the Rose Bowl. 

Let’s have a look at just a few video games to pay attention to Saturday as the school soccer season kicks off Week 12.

No. 3 Michigan vs. Illinois – 12 p.m. ET, ABC

The matchup on the Huge Home in Ann Arbor between Illinois and Michigan has misplaced a few of its luster after the Fighting Illini lost back-to-back video games towards unranked opponents, however there’s nonetheless quite a bit on the road for each groups. 

For the Wolverines and head coach Jim Harbaugh, a win will enable Michigan to face Ohio State Nov. 26 undefeated with a berth within the Huge Ten championship sport on the road. 

Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines on the sideline during the first half of a game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan Stadium Oct. 15, 2022, in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines on the sideline through the first half of a sport towards the Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan Stadium Oct. 15, 2022, in Ann Arbor, Mich.
(Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Photographs)

“Quite a bit on the road for them, for us,” Harbaugh mentioned. “And the best way we at all times method a sport, day-after-day issues, however the video games rely. … We’re actually going to must be on level.”

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It’s a matchup between the 2 prime defenses within the nation, and the Michigan entrance will likely be seeking to gradual Illinois working again Chase Brown, assuming Brown performs after struggling a leg damage in Week 11. 

Head coach Brett Bielema mentioned earlier within the week that Brown is “trending in the best route.”  

“(I’m) very constructive and excited however don’t know the place we’ll be by Friday for the journey and Saturday for the sport,” Bielema mentioned. 

Illinois Fighting Illini running back Chase Brown (2) advances the ball during a game against the Purdue Boilermakers Nov. 12, 2022, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. 

Illinois Combating Illini working again Chase Brown (2) advances the ball throughout a sport towards the Purdue Boilermakers Nov. 12, 2022, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, In poor health. 
(Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire through Getty Photographs)

Brown leads the nation in speeding yards with 1,442, whereas the Wolverines head into Week 12 with the highest speeding protection within the nation, permitting simply 72.7 yards per sport on the bottom. 

The Michigan protection leads the nation in whole yards allowed per sport (232.8) and factors per sport (11.2). 

“Our run wall has been excellent,” Harbaugh mentioned Monday, in line with MLive. “It’s going to be examined this week in all probability like none different up so far. Illinois could be very robust on the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball.” Harbaugh cited Illinois’ “excellent working again.”

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The Michigan offense brings its personal stud working again to the get together, with Blake Corum fourth within the nation in yards (1,349) and 17 touchdowns. 

Michigan Wolverines running back Blake Corum (2) runs with the ball during a game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers Nov. 12, 2022, at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.  

Michigan Wolverines working again Blake Corum (2) runs with the ball throughout a sport towards the Nebraska Cornhuskers Nov. 12, 2022, at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.  
(Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire through Getty Photographs)

Illinois counters with a protection permitting simply 85.9 yards per sport on the bottom, sixth within the nation.

“They’ve an offensive line that could be very gifted — huge, lengthy, athletic and strikes extraordinarily effectively,” Bielema mentioned. “Behind them is a working again that I feel might be nearly as good as anyone within the nation; robust, highly effective, has the flexibility to run by means of you, has the flexibility to run round you, has some shiftiness to him. “

Baylor vs. No. 4 TCU – 12 p.m. ET, FOX

TCU must win out to make the Faculty Soccer Playoff, and Baylor received’t be a workforce that may be neglected. 

The Horned Frogs will head to Waco, Texas, recent off a dominant defensive performance towards the Texas Longhorns. 

Lwal Uguak of the TCU Horned Frogs celebrates after defeating the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium Nov. 12, 2022, in Austin, Texas. 

Lwal Uguak of the TCU Horned Frogs celebrates after defeating the Texas Longhorns at Darrell Ok Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium Nov. 12, 2022, in Austin, Texas. 
(Tim Warner/Getty Photographs)

“I knew we had the potential,” TCU defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie advised ESPN. “I simply did not know the place it was going to occur, or if it was going to occur. That was as full a four-quarter defensive [performance] that we have performed up till this level. And it is good timing.

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“Now the deal is, you have to hold doing it. You have received a giant goal in your chest, and that is a great factor.”

The TCU protection allowed simply 199 whole yards to the Longhorns, shutting down working again Bijan Robinson and the Texas speeding assault (28 speeding yards).

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And whereas Baylor is coming off a disastrous performance against Kansas State, it’s an offense that averages 34.8 factors per sport, good for fourth within the Huge 12. 

In opposition to the Wildcats, Baylor’s rushing attack stalled, gaining simply 103 yards on the bottom. However in its three earlier video games — all wins — Baylor rushed for 273 (Kansas), 231 (Texas Tech) and 281 yards (Oklahoma).  

Blake Shapen (12) of the Baylor Bears throws under pressure from Felix Anudike-Uzomah (91) of the Kansas State Wildcats in the first half at McLane Stadium Nov. 12, 2022, in Waco, Texas. 

Blake Shapen (12) of the Baylor Bears throws underneath strain from Felix Anudike-Uzomah (91) of the Kansas State Wildcats within the first half at McLane Stadium Nov. 12, 2022, in Waco, Texas. 
(Ron Jenkins/Getty Photographs)

Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen struggled towards Kansas State, throwing two interceptions within the loss. 

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“Yeah, full confidence in him. I feel there was in all probability some urgent by him (towards Ok-State). I feel his footwork in all probability illustrated a few of that,” Baylor head coach Dave Aranda mentioned, in line with The Dallas Morning Information. 

“To get again to the place there’s a extremely robust confidence and command in all of it — like he’s achieved for us quite a bit this yr — I feel provides us the very best probability to be the very best offense we might be.”

TCU running back Kendre Miller is second within the Huge 12 in speeding yards per sport (114.7) and will likely be going up towards a Baylor protection ranked third within the convention in rush protection (132.8 yards allowed per sport). 

Kentucky vs. No. 1 Georgia – 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

What regarded like Georgia’s final hurdle earlier than the SEC Championship Recreation just some weeks in the past is now a matchup between groups stepping into reverse instructions. 

The Bulldogs secured their spot in Atlanta final weekend after beating Mississippi State one week after knocking off Tennessee

Georgia Bulldogs helmets at a game between the UAB Blazers and the Bulldogs Sept. 11, 2021, at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga.  

Georgia Bulldogs helmets at a sport between the UAB Blazers and the Bulldogs Sept. 11, 2021, at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga.  
(Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire through Getty Photographs)

Georgia’s protection has as soon as once more led the best way, permitting simply 11.6 factors per sport, the second-fewest within the nation. 

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They’ll be going towards a Kentucky offense that has struggled to place the ball in the long run zone towards SEC opponents, scoring at the very least 20 factors simply 4 occasions towards groups from the SEC. 

In opposition to Vanderbilt in Week 11, the Wildcats managed simply two offensive touchdowns, permitting the Commodores to snap a 26-game SEC shedding streak.

Will Levis (7) of the Kentucky Wildcats against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Kroger Field on Nov. 12, 2022, in Lexington, Ky. 

Will Levis (7) of the Kentucky Wildcats towards the Vanderbilt Commodores at Kroger Area on Nov. 12, 2022, in Lexington, Ky. 
(Andy Lyons/Getty Photographs)

“We’re transferring the ball and doing good issues, however we’re not entering into the tip zone,” Kentucky offensive coordinator Wealthy Scangarello mentioned, in line with ESPN. “One of many downsides is that we have had explosive [plays], however they don’t seem to be scoring on a regular basis. Chunk performs are nice, however when chunk performs get tackled on the 25 as a substitute of scoring, it is onerous.” 

Kentucky received’t simply be dealing with a stifling protection. 

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Georgia’s offense has lit up the scoreboard in 2022, averaging 509.6 yards and 40.6 factors per sport. 

“They’re awfully spectacular in each means, form or type,” Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops mentioned. “They need to be the place they’re at, and we have now an ideal problem forward for us.”

Head coach Mark Stoops of the Kentucky Wildcats during the second half against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium Nov. 5, 2022 in Columbia, Mo.

Head coach Mark Stoops of the Kentucky Wildcats through the second half towards the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Area/Memorial Stadium Nov. 5, 2022 in Columbia, Mo.
(Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Photographs)

Georgia has received the final 12 matchups with Kentucky, and a win Saturday will put them one step nearer to a matchup with LSU and a visit to the CFP on the road. 

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“We actually haven’t talked in regards to the SEC championship sport,” Georgia coach Kirby Good mentioned. “This isn’t our dialog. We hold our dialog relative to what’s one foot in entrance of us, and it’s by no means been talked about as a purpose, no person talks about that. We discuss Kentucky.”

No. 16 UCLA vs. No. 7 USC – 8 p.m. ET, FOX

It’s the Pac-12’s final gasp at being represented within the Faculty Soccer Playoff. 

The convention has not had a workforce within the playoff for 5 straight years and has develop into an afterthought among the many Energy 5. 

Then Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma for the West Coast, and the Trojans returned to the primary stage. 

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USC head coach Lincoln Riley during a game against the California Golden Bears Nov. 5, 2022, at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles.

USC head coach Lincoln Riley throughout a sport towards the California Golden Bears Nov. 5, 2022, at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles.
(Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire through Getty Photographs)

However the college throughout city may have one thing to say about USC’s return to the highest. 

“When each groups are good and there are a number of alternatives forward for each groups, it makes it means, means higher,” Riley mentioned this week, in line with ESPN. 

The Trojans sit at 9-1, their solely loss coming to an excellent Utah workforce in October. USC may have a great case for the Faculty Soccer Playoff if it defeats Notre Dame and sure a extremely ranked Oregon or Utah workforce within the Pac-12 Championship Recreation to complete 12-1. 

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A loss and it’s virtually actually lights out for Riley, USC and the Convention of Champions. 

It’s a matchup between two of the very best quarterbacks within the nation as Caleb Williams leads his Trojans into the Rose Bowl to tackle Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the Bruins. 

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson of the UCLA Bruins points toward the end zone against the Arizona Wildcats in the first half of a game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena Nov. 12, 2022. 

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson of the UCLA Bruins factors towards the tip zone towards the Arizona Wildcats within the first half of a sport on the Rose Bowl in Pasadena Nov. 12, 2022. 
(Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-Information through Getty Photographs)

It’s the 92nd time the crosstown rivals will face off, and there’s no love misplaced. 

“Clearly, we hate these guys throughout city. It’s a bitter feeling with these guys,” Thompson-Robinson mentioned. “We wish to be even higher (than final yr). We wish to break 60 and all that stuff. We’re making an attempt to enhance on every part we’ve achieved this yr and maximize our sport that means.”

Thompson-Robinson leads an offense that has achieved its injury on the bottom, eighth in faculty soccer with 240.1 yards per sport speeding. 

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UCLA working again Zach Charbonnet leads the Pac-12 in speeding (1,145) and is tied for essentially the most touchdowns on the bottom (13). 

A win for UCLA retains its slim Pac-12 championship hopes alive. 

USC is led by its passing assault (316.9 yards per sport), with quarterback Caleb Williams throwing for 31 touchdowns and simply two interceptions in his first yr in LA.

“Caleb has performed not solely in rivalry video games however huge video games with title implications. I like the place our man has been and the battles he has been in,” Riley mentioned.

USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams makes a throw during a game against the Colorado Buffaloes Nov. 11, 2022, at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. 

USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams makes a throw throughout a sport towards the Colorado Buffaloes Nov. 11, 2022, at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. 
(Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire through Getty Photographs)

USC will want much more from Williams after shedding working again Travis Dye to a season-ending ankle damage towards Colorado in Week 11. 

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Williams’ prime goal, Pittsburgh switch Jordan Addison, is second within the Pac-12 with seven receiving touchdowns. 

“It is positively one thing I have been fascinated about, coming to a brand new city,” mentioned Addison. “I do know it is a huge sport for this metropolis, and folks have been speaking about it, so I am beginning to get the sensation.”

It ought to be a high-scoring affair at a offeredout Rose Bowl.

Different video games of notice: 

No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 10 Utah – 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Maryland vs. No. 2 Ohio State – 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

No. 9 Clemson vs. Miami – 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Related Press contributed to this report



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