Lance Zierlein's Z-Report

Finally, a good matchup for Alabama

Alabama playing college all-stars would be must-watch. Getty Images

From all of the feedback that I got from Twitter, The Bench, and discussions with people during the week, the only people cheering for Alabama against LSU were Crimson Tide fans and anyone who had bet on Alabama. Is Alabama’s dominance good for college football? Can anyone touch them? The first question is inconsequential and the second question is a resounding “NO!”

Instead, we are all reduced to coming up with hypotheticals to create conversation surrounding competition for Alabama. And you know what? I lead the league in hypothetical discussions and arguments! That’s my jam! So without further delay, let’s throw some hypotheticals together for you to weigh in on.

Alabama vs. an NFL Team

The most popular discussion point when it comes to a dominant college basketball or football team is whether or not that team could beat the worst NBA or NFL team. There is a great chance that you’ve had this discussion with someone in the past and the more popular sentiment is that Alabama would beat the worst NFL team (take your pick of who that is). That sentiment is incorrect.

Sure, Alabama will have plenty of players who get drafted this season and in seasons to come, but NFL rosters are filled with players who were also drafted and who have had the benefits of additional growth through age, dedicated nutrition, and dedicated training. While Alabama has players with NFL size coming out, let’s also remember they have players “who will be drafted” who haven’t finished growing.

These college players also lack the experience that NFL players would have from an Xs and Os standpoint. The NFL game is also faster and more physical. Alabama has younger players who would be at a distinct disadvantage and plenty of players who won’t play for NFL teams as well.

Alabama vs. College All-Stars

Over the weekend, I started thinking about a more interesting scenario for this mythical matchup for Alabama. Instead, I started to dream about a matchup between Alabama and a team of All-Stars from the Pac-12. After racking my brain for what that all-star team might look like, I decided that it would probably be smarter to put together an all-star team from the Big 10.

QB: Dwayne Haskins / Shea Patterson / Trace McSorley

RB: Jonathan Taylor / Mike Webber

OL: A mixture of Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Iowa

Pass Rush: Rashan Gary, all of Ohio State

I could go on and on putting a team together, but as you can see, this team would be loaded with early round picks and their depth would be far superior to Alabama’s - at least I think. I might be wrong considering how Alabama just reloads without even blinking an eye.

So let’s do this…. Let’s forget the entire College Football Playoffs for this season. We know how this is going to end for any team that goes up against Alabama. If you have a good defense, you don’t have enough offense to stick with Tua and the boys. If you have a good offense (Kyler Murray, anyone?), you don’t have enough defense to fade the the Alabama offensive onslaught. I promise that an “Alabama vs. All-Stars” matchup would be an incredible spectacle. The ratings would be off the charts. The build-up would be incredible. The trash-talking would be unmatched!

LEEEETTTTTTSSSSS GOOOOOOOO!!!!!

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Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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