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College football report: New coaches in high profile jobs are struggling

Chip Kelly is not off to a good start. Harry How/Getty Images

Willie Taggart and Scott Frost may have been two of the most high profile hires coming into the 2018 season. Unfortunately for Florida State and Nebraska, offseason hype isn’t transitioning to on-field success. The two blueblood programs are a combined 1-4 through the first three weeks of the season.

Taggart’s team is dealing with injuries and a talent deficit on their offensive line and was nearly shut out by a bad Syracuse defense on Saturday while Frost’s Nebraska team lost its second straight one score game at home. Losing to Colorado in your first game isn’t a complete disaster. That Troy loss is probably sitting differently with the Nebraska faithful. Winless going into the start of Big Ten play was not the beginning Huskers fans had in mind. Playing a walk-on quarterback likely wasn’t on the agenda either. The health of freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez will likely determine the fate of Frost’s first season with Big Red.

I didn’t forget about Chip Kelly

It has been nothing short of brutal in Westwood for the biggest offseason hire not named Jimbo Fisher. Losing to Cincinnati in the first week was bad. Dropping one to Oklahoma was expected. Even the margin of defeat wasn’t considered outrageous.  Getting beat by Fresno State at home might have the most reactionary starting to question whether Kelly has lost it. Fresno State under former Cal coach Jeff Tedford isn’t a bad program but getting dominated at home by an in-state Group of Five school isn’t the best way to maintain any semblance of off-season momentum. Throw in the father of the freshman starting quarterback taking you apart on twitter and the Chip Kelly era couldn’t have started worse.

I’m actually writing about Kansas Football

I don’t normally think about Kansas football. Hell, I don’t ever think about the state of Kansas. This will probably be the only time Kansas gets any space in one of my writeups to be honest. Just a friendly reminder that Kansas has a real shot to go 3-1 as they travel to Waco to play Baylor. The only reason the Jayhawks aren’t 3-0 right now is because they somehow lost to Nicholls State at home in Week 1. That is a very Kansas football thing to do by the way. Kansas hasn’t won a Big 12 game since they effectively ended Charlie Strong’s tenure at Texas in 2016. The Jayhawks go on the road to face a Baylor team who just lost at home to a Duke team who was starting their backup quarterback. Waco is as good a place as any to end their losing streak to Power 5 teams.

Hate Watch Game of the Week:  Notre Dame vs Wake Forest

There is never a bad time to root against Notre Dame but when they’re in the top 10 and look vulnerable it is even better. The Fighting Irish go on the road to face a Wake Forest team that is a little salty. Throw in a noon start and an inept Notre Dame offense and you have a chance for a rush the field moment in Winston Salem. Do college kids still rush the field?

Hate Watch Record 2-1: LSU beats Auburn

It took Auburn pooping down their own leg to ruin my perfect record. War Eagle blew a double-digit lead at home to team who’s quarterback finished the game 15-of-34. LSU got their second top-10 win of the year to become one of the early season darlings. Gus Malzahn got himself that contract extension after beating Alabama and Georgia in 2017 and is now 1-3 against ranked teams since.


 

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Yordan Alvarez provided the offense to back up more stellar pitching by the Astros as they took ALCS game 6 to advance to the 2021 World Series. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of this series in Houston then falling behind in the series 2-1 by dropping the first of three games in Boston, the Astros took over the ALCS in Games 4 and 5, sending them back to their home crowd with a chance to finish things off in Game 6 at Minute Maid Park. After another stellar performance by their pitching staff and more timely hitting, they would accomplish that mission, winning the series and moving on to the 2021 World Series.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 0

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston wins 4-2

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Losing Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Houston strikes first to start tightly-contested Game 6

After a scoreless top of the first inning by Boston's offense, the Astros capitalized on a chance to be first to score in the bottom of the frame. Alex Bregman started the two-out rally, reaching base on a single against Nathan Eovaldi for the first hit of the night. Yordan Alvarez followed, delivering his sixth RBI of the series with a double to put Houston on top 1-0.

That did not spark further immediate scoring, as the one-run score held while both starting pitchers provided solid outings for their team. For Eovaldi, he was able to limit Houston to just that single run through four frames. He returned in the bottom of the fifth, facing two batters, allowing a single, and getting a strikeout to end his night.

Garcia impresses in big start

For the home team, they were recipients of another expectation-exceeding performance from one of their young arms. Only anticipated to go a handful of innings, Luis Garcia worked efficiently and effectively against Boston, keeping them scoreless and hitless through five innings. He continued in the sixth, getting two more outs before allowing a two-out triple, ending his night as Phil Maton would enter to strand the tying run. Garcia's final line: 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 76 P.

With both teams dipping into their bullpens, the Astros took advantage of Boston's as Yordan Alvarez's dominance went on display once again. He led the inning off with a triple, then scored on a double-play ball to extend Houston's lead to 2-0. Kendall Graveman took over on the mound in the top of the seventh and worked himself into a big moment. He gave up a one-out walk, followed by a single, which put runners on the corners for Boston. He continued to struggle with the zone, falling behind the next batter 3-1, but was able to battle back to get the strikeout paired with a terrific throw by Martin Maldonado to cut down the runner from first trying to steal second, ending the inning and maintaining the two-run advantage.

Astros headed to the World Series

Ryne Stake was Houston's next reliever, and he put Houston three outs away by getting a 1-2-3 eighth. With Ryan Pressly warming, he watched and hoped that his offense could give him some more insurance to work with when he went to the mound in the top of the ninth. His wish would be granted, as after getting two on base, Kyle Tucker would put a major exclamation point on the night's offense, hitting a three-run opposite-field homer to the Crawford Boxes to push the lead to 5-0.

Pressly, now with the five-run lead, came on to try and start the celebration by getting the final three outs. Against the tougher part of Boston's order, he would get a 1-2-3 inning, giving the Astros the American League pennant, which along with those won in 2017 and 2019, puts them back in the World Series for the third time in five years.

Up Next: The Astros will have three days off before The Fall Classic kicks off. While Game 1 will be on Tuesday, October 26th, nothing else has yet been determined as Houston awaits to see which of the Dodgers and Braves will advance out of the NL, which will also dictate if the Astros will host or travel to World Series Game 1.

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