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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Yordan Alvarez's homer in Wednesday's game gave him 100 RBI on the season. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Winners of three straight, six of their last seven, and eight of their last ten, the Astros had the chance to move yet another game closer to clinching their playoff spot if they could secure the series with a win against the Angels on Wednesday. Even though it looked as though they were headed towards a loss in extra innings, they would ultimately come out ahead.

Final Score (12 innings): Astros 9, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 91-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yimi Garcia (4-9)

Losing Pitcher: Sam Selman (0-1)

Garcia goes six shutout innings

Although he didn't have swing-and-miss dominance in this start, Luis Garcia could still capitalize on a struggling Angels offense and post a shutout quality start against them. He allowed three walks and three hits throughout his outing but stranded all of them while getting outs on balls in play. His final line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 79 P.

Alvarez reaches 100 RBI as Houston's offense keeps rolling

That performance had Garcia in line for the win, as two homers handed him a 3-0 advantage which he held. Houston once again used early offense to take a first-inning lead, as a leadoff walk by Jose Altuve turned into a monster 456-foot by Yordan Alvarez, pushing him to 100 RBI on the season. The score held at 2-0 until the top of the fifth, when Jason Castro led that frame off with a solo homer to extend the lead to three runs.

Extras in Anaheim

Phil Maton was first out of Houston's bullpen in the bottom of the seventh, but a single, double, and walk loaded the bases with no outs to put him in a jam. A lineout kept the runners put for the first out, but a single and a walk would make it a one-run game and left the bases loaded as Maton would get pulled.

Kendall Graveman entered to try and stop the bleeding, but after a force out at home to put that within reach, Jack Mayfield came through for Los Angeles with a go-ahead three-run double, giving the Angels their first lead of the series at 5-3. In the top of the eighth, a walk by Alex Bregman brought Alvarez back to the plate, and he would nearly miss a game-tying homer and instead got an RBI-single to make it 5-4.

Alvarez would still come in to tie the game, hustling home from second on an RBI single by Yuli Gurriel to knot things up 5-5. Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he sat down LA in order with two strikeouts. Still tied in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly came in to force extras, and despite being shadowed by the winning run on the bases after a leadoff single, retired the next three batters to send the game to the tenth.

Astros keep battling and take it in the twelfth

Jake Meyers took second base as Houston's free runner in the top of the tenth, but he would go nowhere as the Astros went down in order, giving the Angels another chance at a walk-off. Instead of giving Shohei Ohtani a free pass immediately, Houston would let Blake Taylor throw two balls to him before giving him the intentional walk.

Taylor then gave up a single to load the bases with no outs, and after getting a force out at home for the first out, Yimi Garcia would replace him. Thanks to a great play by Chas McCormick, giving him multiple in the game, the Astros would live to see another inning as he would make a great catch in right field and then throw out Ohtani at home.

In the top of the eleventh, a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel moved Aledmys Diaz to third, but that's as close as Houston would come, leaving them stuck at five runs. After Garcia retired three more batters in the bottom of the eleventh, the game moved to the twelfth, where Houston would get back in front on an RBI single by Jake Meyers, then padded the new lead on a two-RBI double by Jose Altuve, who would also score on a sac fly by Alex Bregman, making it 9-5. Josh James came in and wrapped things up in the bottom half as Houston secured the series victory and reduced their magic number to two against Oakland and three against Seattle.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game series, and the last time these two teams will meet this year, will be an 8:38 PM Central start on Thursday. The expected pitching matchup is Alex Cobb (8-3, 3.59 ERA) for Los Angeles and Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.11 ERA) for Houston.

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