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Del Olaleye: The weekly college football update includes more trouble for the Big 10

Somehow, UT coach Tom Herman got dragged into the Big 10's mess. Tim Warner/Getty Images

The weekly look at all things college football:

Rough going in the Big Ten

The conference of Leaders and Legends has had a rough summer. If you’re not familiar with those two words in reference to the Big Ten, those were the pretentious names they used temporarily to name their divisions in football. Oddly enough those names didn’t go over well so now the Big Ten’s divisions are simply named East and West. Much appreciation to the Big Ten for figuring out that they are the only ones who think they are special.

The Zach Smith/Urban Meyer saga continues into its third week. Ohio State has a hatchet man in Jeff Snook attempting to discredit Brett McMurphy and throw University of Texas head coach and former Meyer assistant Tom Herman into the grease. Herman and his wife responded to the allegation by Snook that Herman alerted McMurphy to the drama involving Smith by denying any involvement. Herman did say his wife gave temporary financial help to Smith’s estranged ex-wife. Meanwhile Ohio State’s investigators will meet with Zach Smith as the campaign to protect Meyer at all cost continues.

The Buckeyes’ biggest rival is involved in something less serious but still could affect their season. Michigan is investigating whether their players sold exclusive Jordan brand shoes. Jim Harbaugh doesn’t expect anything to come of it as Michigan football has conducted its own investigation. Michigan hopes to not suffer the same fate as fellow Jordan brand school North Carolina which had multiple starters suspended for selling shoes, including their potential starting quarterback.

The Big Ten wasn’t done making news this week as Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin was put on leave after a not so complimentary ESPN report. The report state that Durkin was at the head of program with a toxic culture. This reports comes just months after the death of Maryland player Jordan McNair. McNair’s death certainly raised questions about the Maryland program and the subsequent report chronicled the levels of fear and intimidation that may have led to McNair’s death. Durkin’s strength and conditioning coach, Rick Court, considered one of the main culprits, was fired August 14th.

If there is one conference who just wants games to begin it has to the conference of of 14 members that calls itself the Big Ten.

QB battles to be decided

We’re entering the second week of training camp which means we’re one week closer to the greatest time of the year. While I can relax as my favorite team has named their starting QB other marquee programs are still using practices and scrimmages to make a decision.

LSU: The transfer of former Ohio State QB Joe Burrow was supposed to simplify the quarterback quandary for the Bayou Bengals. That isn’t the case as the team’s first scrimmage didn’t show Burrow separating from the quarterbacks who were on the roster last year. Burrow is one of four players who hope to start for LSU come September 2nd and LSU Head Coach Ed Orgeron has alluded to possibly playing two QBs in the season opener.

Tennessee: The Vols have a new head coach in former Alabama, Florida State and Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt but the questions at quarterback remain the same. This is year two of trying to replace Josh Dobbs and Tennessee has Keller Cryst, a transfer from Stanford and returnee Jarret Guarantano vying for the job. Deciding on a QB is one of Pruitt’s biggest decisions early in his tenure and whoever wins the job doesn’t get a warm up game to start. The Volunteers face West Virginia in a neutral site game to begin the season.

Alabama: Tua vs Jalen. Easy. It will be Tua. Everyone knows it. It is just a matter of time. Let’s keep it moving.

 

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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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