Faculty Soccer Week 8: Pitt May Really Be It

The college football season is now nearly two-thirds completed, as dozens of groups have performed eight of their 12 common season video games and the remainder will get there over the following week or two. Regardless of how bleak the schedule seems to be for any given week—and Week 8’s had nearly nothing in the best way of blockbuster matchups—each week finds a approach to offer some type of distinctive drama, and this one was no completely different.

It featured the longest string of overtimes within the sport’s historical past, one staff in Pennsylvania rising to heights it hasn’t reached in a technology, one other shedding the aforementioned time beyond regulation sport, and Ohio State persevering with to seem like maybe the game’s most well-oiled machine. Listed below are three groups that emerged from the fray wanting fairly and three that didn’t.

Winner: Pitt

The Panthers nearly all the time occupy an area in faculty soccer’s center class. They’re hardly ever unhealthy and have certified a bowl sport yearly however one since 2008 (although they opted to not play in a single in 2020). They churn out loads of NFL expertise, together with the very best participant on this planet proper now, Rams defensive deal with Aaron Donald. However they haven’t completed a season ranked within the AP Ballot since 2009, and their greatest moments have tended to be upsets of different groups that had been en path to particular seasons when Pitt derailed them.

Perhaps that’s altering in 2021. The Panthers took an embarrassing house loss to Western Michigan in Week 3, however in any other case, they’ve been rock strong. They handed a significant check by beating Clemson at house on Saturday, 27-17, placing the ACC Coastal in a chokehold. Clemson’s offense has been out of kinds all yr, however the protection stays elite, and ascendant Pitt QB Kenny Pickett had a pleasant afternoon with each his arm (302 yards) and legs (a few key first downs to shut out the sport) en path to the win. Pitt is on a collision course with Wake Forest for the ACC Championship (extra on the Deacs shortly) in December.

Loser: Penn State

Pennsylvania’s different Energy 5 staff had a horrible, no-good, very unhealthy afternoon at house in opposition to Illinois. The Nittany Lions misplaced to Massive Ten bottomfeeder Illinois in a record-setting 9 overtimes, probably the most ever performed in a Division I sport. That document comes with an asterisk, because the NCAA instituted a rule this yr that makes time beyond regulation intervals right into a two-point-conversion shootout from the three-yard line if a sport isn’t settled after two commonplace overtimes from the 25. However the asterisk shouldn’t obscure how painstaking it was to look at PSU and the Illini commerce scoreless makes an attempt close to the purpose line, till Illini QB Brandon Peters lastly broke via.

Winner: Ohio State (or, at the least, Ohio State followers)

Ohio State followers, regardless of having a staff that’s just about all the time one of many 4 or 5 greatest within the nation, are all the time pressured about one thing. The Buckeye followers in my life had been in gentle shambles when their staff misplaced to Oregon in Week 2 and appeared destined for a subpar yr. Issues have drastically turned since then, as Ohio State has received its final 5 video games by a mixed rating of 272-71. The newest was a 54-7 thrashing of Indiana on Saturday in Bloomington, which was much more lopsided than the rating indicated. The margin was 44-7 at halftime, after which level Ohio State let up on the gasoline significantly. The Buckeyes scored 42 factors on 38 offensive performs in that half and added a security on protection for good measure.

Loser: Oklahoma State

One of many sport’s different OSUs had a harder Saturday. The Cowboys misplaced their first sport of the yr at Iowa State, 24-21. They’re listed as a loser right here not as a result of they performed poorly or there’s any disgrace in shedding on the highway to the Cyclones, who make a behavior of beating up on good Pokes groups in Ames, however as a result of they had been very a lot on the brief finish of an iffy fourth-down spot that probably price them the sport. Had they gotten higher ball placement on their ultimate drive, even by one other six inches, they might’ve had a strong likelihood to at the least drive time beyond regulation and maybe win in regulation. Faculty soccer is a tricky enterprise.

Winner: Shock unbeatens not named Oklahoma State

UTSA, Wake Forest, San Diego State, and SMU are all advantageous packages. However UTSA is a startup that solely began enjoying soccer a decade in the past; Wake is normally mediocre or worse within the ACC (or at the least was, earlier than head coach Dave Clawson arrived in 2014); San Diego State is usually extra good than nice; and SMU has not been close to the highest of the game because the late ‘80s; when issues led to an episode you might need watched a documentary about.

But this yr, these 4 groups are a mixed 29-0. All received on Saturday, and normally convincingly. SDSU solely beat Air Pressure by six factors, however the successful margins for UTSA, Wake, and SMU had been 29, 14, and 29, respectively. Wake beat Military 70-56, as each groups individually hit the full-game complete of 56 factors that Las Vegas bookmakers had laid out.

Loser: Gary Patterson

Patterson’s TCU misplaced at house, 29-17, to what had been a 2-4 West Virginia staff. The pinnacle Frog has had a tough yr, as his staff has performed a few of the worst protection of his adorned tenure in Fort Price. Too usually, TCU hasn’t been capable of make up for it on offense.

Shedding at house to WVU will likely be a low level, and it comes simply 4 days after Patterson bought publicly livid at a weblog put up that argued for TCU to fireplace him. Patterson has performed so much for TCU, piling up wins for greater than twenty years whereas stewarding the soccer program from the WAC to Convention USA to the Mountain West to the Massive 12. However his staff is unhealthy, and he doesn’t look geared up to make it good once more. I don’t assume the ending right here will likely be completely happy.

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