Why Luke Fickell and USC are drifting aside


Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell watches a replay during the first half of an NCAA college football game.

Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell watches a replay in the course of the first half of the Bearcats’ 24-13 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday. (Darron Cummings / Related Press)

One of many issues Luke Fickell mentioned final week throughout my go to to Cincinnati actually caught with me Saturday as I watched his star quarterback, Desmond Ridder, wave the Bearcats’ flag in the long run zone of Notre Dame Stadium.

“Whether or not it’s proper or unsuitable, I don’t soak up loads of the sights,” Fickell mentioned of the South Bend expertise. “My former gamers and coaches name me and remind me, ‘Hey, be sure that to soak up the chance you have got and revel in it, go searching in some unspecified time in the future.’ That doesn’t occur till there’s zeros on the clock for me.”

When the zeros hit, No. 7 Cincinnati had 24 factors to No. 9 Notre Dame’s 13, and we will solely hope he was in a position to snap out of his trance to take in the sight of what regarded like 1000’s of Cincinnati followers draped in crimson cheering on Ridder and his teammates because the defeated Notre Dame scholar part sang the alma mater.

I went to Cincinnati to profile certainly one of faculty soccer’s greatest tales of current years — and, in fact, to gauge the chance that Fickell could possibly be USC’s subsequent head coach. Earlier than Saturday’s sport, I felt it was unlikely, because of his deep Ohio roots and household pressures, however nonetheless potential. No one, even his reluctant spouse, Amy Fickell, was keen to shut the door on USC.

Although beating the Trojans’ rival Saturday made Fickell extra coveted by USC followers who had been already intrigued by him, my intestine tells me Cincinnati’s historic victory lessened the probabilities of a Fickell-USC match.

The Bearcats had been clearly higher than the Preventing Irish on each side of the ball. They led 17-0 at halftime and answered Notre Dame with a clutch landing drive within the fourth quarter when the Irish pulled to inside 17-13 and the echoes had been waking. This was an emphatic consequence that proved to Fickell that he doesn’t want to educate at a blue blood to beat one.

Cincinnati must be ranked within the prime 5 this week and will likely be a heavy favourite in each sport it performs within the American Athletic Convention. With wins at Indiana and at Notre Dame in nonconference play, it’s going to have the resume to change into the primary Group of 5 workforce to be invited to the School Soccer Playoff if it runs the desk.

Look, no one is suggesting that Fickell goes to complete his profession at Cincinnati. He’s 48 and ultimately Ohio State (his alma mater), Notre Dame, Michigan or Penn State will come open once more and higher match his Midwestern ethos. Within the meantime, there are causes past his workforce’s current efficiency to remain put, hold constructing and never rock the boat along with his completely satisfied household.

Amy Fickell advised me that she is hopeful Cincinnati’s upcoming transfer to the Huge 12 and the Energy 5 will present Luke there’s extra to be accomplished proper the place he’s. Throw in an expanded playoff, and there’s a legit probability for the Bearcats to have extra seasons identical to this one, significantly with Fickell working the present.

USC athletic director Mike Bohn, who employed Fickell at Cincinnati and will get his household dynamic, in all probability already is aware of whether or not he has an actual shot at Fickell. He additionally is aware of that if his prime candidate makes the playoff he gained’t be capable to make a rent till January, which may make it more durable on USC to maintain its recruiting class collectively by means of December’s early signing interval.

Trojans backers who’ve their eye on Fickell ought to hope for only a wee little little bit of adversity to befall the Bearcats within the coming weeks. Primarily based on Saturday, although, I wouldn’t rely on a Cincinnati letdown — or Fickell switching out Cincinnati crimson for USC cardinal.

Cristobal craters Pac-12

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal shouts during the Ducks' overtime loss to Stanford on Saturday.

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal shouts in the course of the Geese’ extra time loss to Stanford on Saturday. (Andy Nelson / Related Press)

The subsequent USC coach ought to see a transparent runway to dominate the Pac-12 and rack up playoff appearances. Certain, Oregon could look like a menace, however it seems the Geese below Mario Cristobal will at all times dwell on the sting of self-destruction late in video games.

No. 3 Oregon did the laborious half for the Pac-12 this 12 months, going into Columbus and upsetting Ohio State in Week 2. And Saturday at Stanford the Geese had the sport in hand, main 24-17 within the last minutes, till Cristobal mismanaged the ending, permitting trademark Pac-12 officiating to push the sport into extra time.

With the Geese making an attempt to ice the sport away, Cristobal known as a cross with undependable quarterback Anthony Brown on second down, and it fell incomplete, stopping the clock for Stanford. When the Cardinal bought it again and had been driving into Oregon territory, Cristobal known as a timeout with the clock working right down to 40 seconds on Stanford, presumably to settle his protection (however nonetheless).

The Cardinal completed off an inconceivable 95-yard, game-tying drive on the ultimate play of regulation — a play that will not have occurred if not for a questionable cross interference name — and gained it within the first extra time 31-24.

Cristobal is an amazing recruiter, however he nonetheless has a protracted method to go as an in-game tactician. That’s forgivable for now, and Oregon will rightfully present endurance with him. However the suitable USC coach ought to be capable to shortly vault the Trojans over the Geese within the convention pecking order if Cristobal can’t reverse this pattern.

A 1-2 punch

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, right, hugs running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. after beating No. 10 Florida on Saturday.

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, proper, hugs working again Chris Rodriguez Jr. after beating No. 10 Florida on Saturday. (Michael Clubb / Related Press)

Six top-15 groups misplaced Saturday. That was enjoyable, however it additionally simply served to strengthen how significantly better No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Georgia are than everyone else.

The Crimson Tide’s 42-21 victory over No. 12 Mississippi wasn’t as shut as the ultimate rating. No matter Alabama’s protection was doing unsuitable two weeks in the past at Florida, Nick Saban bought it cleaned up simply in time to humble his former assistant Lane Kiffin. Georgia, enjoying with out beginning quarterback JT Daniels, spanked No. 8 Arkansas 37-0. The Bulldogs may have an all-time protection.

Later within the day, Kentucky moved to 5-0 by upsetting No. 10 Florida in Lexington, 20-13, and Mississippi State went into School Station and knocked off No. 15 Texas A&M, which has now misplaced two in a row.

The expectation must be that Alabama and Georgia will run the desk within the common season and that the loser of their SEC championship sport will even make the playoff.

With Cincinnati in place to crash the get together, that would depart one spot for groups from the opposite 4 Energy 5 leagues.

Coach O unhappiness

LSU coach Ed Orgeron walks on the sideline during a timeout against Auburn on Saturday.

LSU coach Ed Orgeron walks on the sideline throughout a timeout in opposition to Auburn on Saturday. (Gerald Herbert / Related Press)

Lower than two years after successful a nationwide championship at Louisiana State, Ed Orgeron could also be in deep trouble of being out of labor. That will sound loopy, but when it does, it means you haven’t spent a lot time in Louisiana.

LSU misplaced in Tiger Stadium on Saturday night time to Auburn, 24-19, shifting its document to 3-2, a 12 months after going 5-5.

This was a sport the Tigers needed to have in the event that they’re going to keep away from one other season hovering round .500.

Joe Burrow and Joe Brady aren’t strolling by means of that door. Orgeron will at all times be a legend in his residence state for 2019, however they gained’t have a lot endurance in Baton Rouge.

On to Week 6

A sneak peek at subsequent week’s massive video games as a result of I can’t assist myself:

No. 6 Oklahoma vs. Texas (within the Cotton Bowl)

No. 8 Arkansas at No. 12 Mississippi

No. 2 Georgia at No. 22 Auburn

No. 4 Penn State at No. 5 Iowa

No. 14 Michigan at Nebraska

This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Occasions.



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