Recruiting Headlines: Clemson gets 4-star linebacker, and a baseball player at QB?

Clemson lands a few big recruits

Clemson landed one of their biggest defensive targets, as they earned a commitment form four-star Barrett Carter. Carter is considered one of the best, if not the best, linebacker in the Class of 2021, and his recruitment was largely a battle between the ACC power and Georgia. Ohio State and Auburn were also considered fairly strong contenders for his services. Carter didn’t make a spectacle of his recruitment, as he had over 40 offers, and he publicly cut that list down only once, to eleven teams a few months ago.

Carter said each of the four serious contenders for his commitment were around the top of his list, but his pre-virus visit to Clemson was a major factor in his decision. This decision was a major victory and a pleasant surprise for Clemson, who, like many, believed the Georgia product was bound to stay in-state with the Bulldogs.

However, Carter wasn’t the only player Clemson stole from Georgia – they took from their baseball team as well. Bubba Chandler, a commit to the Bulldogs on the diamond with no prior FBS offers, received one from the Tigers. Without so much as an official campus visit, Chandler de-committed from Georgia, swinging to Clemson, where he will be playing both baseball and football. Although he may be a better prospect at shortstop or on the mound, Chandler had over 2500 all-purpose yards and 31 touchdowns as a high school senior, and he’s certainly an intriguing add for the Clemson team.

4-star S Josh Moore commits to Stanford

Clemson wasn’t the only team bringing in big recruits on the gridiron, as Stanford managed to swindle a commitment from Josh Moore, bringing the Georgia product coast-to-coast, as the four-star safety will be taking his talents to the Palo Alto. Staying in state didn’t seem to be a huge priority for Moore – Georgia Tech seemed like a potential contender for Moore’s service, but in-state powerhouse Georgia didn’t offer Moore. Stanford’s talent and great coach in David Shaw, even coming off a 4-8 season, enticed Moore to join the Cardinal’s secondary.

4-star OT Jonah Miller commits to Oregon

Barely a week after landing a big-time tackle in Bram Walden, the Ducks continues to add to the trenches in their 2021 class. Oregon also dipped into the state of Arizona’s talent to snare Jonah Miller. Miller was thought to be headed out of state, but Texas was considered his most likely destination. However, the Ducks, in their ongoing quest to strengthen their offensive line and running game, secured Miller’s commitment, taking him away from the Longhorns and into the Pac-12 in another big victory in the trenches for the Ducks.

January 21, 2020: NCAA Women’s Basketball Power Rankings

There was a lot of chalk this week in women’s college basketball, but there were also a couple of really high-profile games and results that shifted the Power Rankings a little bit. One new team entered (welcome NC State), and one team dropped from the top 10 into the honorable mentions. Ultimately, the 15 teams mentioned stayed the same as no monumental upsets occurred. 

Honorable Mention

  • Arkansas
  • Tennessee
  • UCLA
  • Mississippi State
  • Maryland

10 – Arizona State (Last Week: 9)

  • The Sun Devils drop one spot largely due to circumstances out of their control. They had two wins by double digits over the weekend, beating Washington and Washington State, both on the road. They continue to, in my opinion, be undervalued by the polls, ranked 16th as of this writing, but they do drop one spot due to the performance of the teams surrounding them in the rankings. 

9 – NC State (Last Week: Honorable Mention)

  • I excluded the Wolfpack – currently ranked 8th – from the Top 10 last week, and they shamed me into including them this week, as they rolled through 2 ACC games, including a 17-point win over #14 Florida State. I’m not necessarily convinced this team is a Final Four threat, but 17-1 is 17-1, so the Wolfpack slot in at #9 here. 

8 – DePaul (Last Week: 10)

  • DePaul finally rose a little bit, from 14th to 11th, in the rankings this week, but I continue to value them a little bit higher. This team has been very impressive, especially offensively. They dominated two Big East road games this week, defeating Xavier by 23, and Butler by 15. It’s been over a month since they gave up more than 71 points, and almost 2 months since they scored less than 74. They are 17-2 and lead the Big East, so definitely watch out for this team. 

7- Oregon State (Last Week: 5)

  • It’s hard to penalize the Cowboys too much for a brutally close road loss to an elite Stanford team, as their game-tying 3-pointer rimmed out at the buzzer. They are just 2-2 against ranked teams, with losses in two of their past three games overall, so a home and home set against Oregon should reveal something about this team, and whether they’re truly going to be capable of a deep run come March. 
 Andy Cripe, Mid-Valley Media

6 –  Stanford (Last week: 3)

  • Yes, Stanford’s only loss was to Oregon…but they lost by 32 points. That’s unacceptable no matter what, especially as a Top-5 team. They were completely dominated in the second half and put together an all-around putrid performance. The Cardinal rebounded with a solid road victory of Oregon State, and they’ll get a couple of home games this week to prep for a road trip followed by a showdown with UCLA. 

5 – UConn (Last Week: 6)

  • It’s honestly still difficult to figure out where this team slots into the national picture. After being outclassed by Baylor, the Huskies haven’t lost, but they haven’t really played a tough game. Conference opponents Memphis and UCF played UConn close, but the Huskies have also blown out Houston and Tulsa, by 40+ points each. They host Tennessee on Thursday, which should give a little bit of a clear idea of where this team stands right now, but I wouldn’t necessarily suggest betting against the Huskies and their history of success. 

4- Louisville (Last Week: 4)

  • This may have been my toughest ranking of the week, as Louisville put together two solid road performances, including a win over UNC who was 9-1 at home. However, the lack of ranked opponents, given their competititon’s achievements kept the Cardinals slotted in at #4 this week. They have just two ranked opponents  – Florida State and NC State – left on their schedule, which will likely reveal how tournament-ready Louisville is. 
SABRINA IONESCU – Oregon Athletics

3 – Oregon (Last Week: 7)

  • “They still have a deep tourney run in them, but they’ll have to win the games they’re supposed to.” That was my direct quote analyzing Oregon’s standing after last week, and the Ducks responded to my challenge – well probably not my challenge specifically, but they improved their play drastically. Hosting Stanford, who was #3 at the time, Oregon blew their Pac-12 rival out of the water, turning a slim halftime advantage into a second-half laugher. Thoughts of a letdown game were quickly squashed, as Oregon beat Cal by 50 points. Cal isn’t a powerhouse, but a 50-point conference win is really good. The Ducks are back, but they’ll have a chance to prove themselves again with two games versus Oregon State this weekend. 

2 –   South Carolina (Last Week: 2)

  • I still disagree with the AP Poll, which has the Gamecocks ranked 1st. South Carolina has no doubt been impressive, especially with their dominant start to SEC play, but I don’t see them as the top team in the country right now. They did add to their resume with a top-10 win over Mississippi State, but I’ll need further convincing to move the Gamecocks up the final rung of this ladder. 

1 – Baylor (Last Week: 1)

  • South Carolina’s ranking at #2 has more do with what Baylor is doing than what South Carolina isn’t doing. The Bears look to be on cruise control right now, and if you don’t believe me, ask the rest of the Big 12. Baylor has won three straight conference games by at least 40 points. And not over scrubs either: The Bears have victimized Oklahoma State (11-6), Kansas (12-4), and #17 West Virginia (13-3). It’s been an unprecedented stretch of dominance by Baylor, and they sit at #1 until their performance indicates reason for change.

Women’s Basketball Headlines: All Eyes On The Pac-12

Stanford goes 1-1 in a pair of top-10 duels

Stanford was involved in the best games of the week, as they faced off against #6 Oregon and then #8 Oregon State over the weekend. Thursday night was a demoralizing night for the Cardinal, as they lost 87-55, getting absolutely manhandled in the second half by the Ducks. Going down five after the first quarter on Sunday, things were looking dismal for the Cardinal, but they chipped away, eventually surging into the lead at the end of the third quarter by holding the Beavers to 6 points in the period. The Cardinal led for much of the way down the stretch, but they still needed to hold their breath as Oregon State missed a three-pointer at the buzzer. Stanford won 61-58. The two games showed that Oregon might be one of the best teams in the country, and that the Pac-12 boasts a bevy of elite teams. 

Photo Courtesy of Baylor Athletics

Baylor is…really good

Baylor is currently ranked #2 in the AP Poll, but they earned the top spot in our Power Rankings last week. They gave us good reason to keep them in the #1 slot when they hosted #17 West Virginia and slammed the Mountaineers by 40 points. With a slate of very winnable Big 12 games ahead, the Bears could be on cruise-control towards getting a 1-seed in the NCAA tournament to defend their title. 

A Lot of Chalk

There wasn’t a lot of exciting upsets in women’s basketball this weekend as, outside Oregon State’s loss, only one other ranked team lost on Sunday. That was #11 Kentucky, who dropped a tough road conference game to LSU, but that wasn’t exactly a ‘shock-the-world’ type of upset. After one of the most tumultuous weeks last week, which saw the top 3 teams in the country lose, this weekend lacked the upset appeal and resulted in a lot expected victories and big blowouts. 

All Eyes On Oregon Next Week

While this week may have been a little underwhelming, next weekend promises another pair of great Pac-12 battles, with in-state rivals Oregon and Oregon State duking it out both on Friday and Sunday to headline next week’s slate. Another game worth watching will be #24 Tennessee at #4 UConn on Thursday, which has won four straight since their loss, albeit against all unranked competition. It will both hint at whether the Lady Vols are back, or whether UConn can deliver with a big ranked win.

NCAA Women’s Basketball Power Rankings

How this women’s basketball season will turn out is pretty much anybody’s guess? For the first time in a while, there’s not one dominant team, but rather a group of favorites who all seem like viable options to be the last team standing. Last week, the top-3 teams in the AP Poll all lost, leaving the top of the rankings in disarray. I’m sure I’ll be less than successful, but I’ll try to sift through the madness of the regular season so far and give you my top 10 NCAA women’s basketball teams, plus a couple teams I think are very good, but not Top-10 material.

Honorable Mention 

  • Mississippi State
  • NC State
  • Arkansas
  • Tennessee
  • Maryland

The Rankings

 #10 – DePaul

Probably not the most popular pick at #10 as DePaul is ranked just 14th in the AP Poll and 15th in the coaches poll, but I really like DePaul’s offense and I think they can stay with anyone when their shooting game is hot. They are near the top of the country in 3-pointers made and 3pt percentage, as well as fourth in the country in points per game. They may not be the most well rounded team, but they’ve got a bevy of lethal shooters that are more than capable of turning a game on its head. 

#9 – Arizona State

Again, the Sun Devils aren’t really a Top 10 team by their whole resume, but wow they are playing like one right now. They pushed #7 UCLA to the brink on the road, and they followed that up with a three-game winning streak, taking down #6 Oregon and ending #8 Oregon State’s undefeated season in the process. They struggled early, but the Sun Devils are quickly proving themselves capable of playing with the best. 

#8 – UCLA

The Bruins rank 6th in RPI, and they’re the only undefeated team in the country. The toughest part of their schedule is yet to come so their spot at #8 indicates a respect for their results so far with some wary optimism about what’s ahead. They’ve been dominant in Pac-12 play, with two wins by at least 24 points, and a 12-point win over #21 Arizona. 

#7 – Oregon

The Ducks were #2 and knocking on the doorstep of #1 following UConn’s loss to Baylor, but the Ducks turned around and were upset by Arizona State, sending them crashing out of the top 5. They’re #6 in the AP Poll, and they land #7 here. They still have a deep tourney run in them, but they’ll have to win the games they’re supposed to. 

By UConn standards, they haven’t been impressive, but they still have a shot at the title come March. Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

#6 – UConn

In our last women’s basketball post, we discussed whether UConn was still a dynasty, and we came to the conclusion that they are, but that does not mean they’re the best team this year. They’ve been dominant at times, but they’ve also shown some holes, including being unable to pull away from a pesky Memphis squad in their most recent AAC game. The Huskies have never lost a game in the AAC, but they didn’t look convincing last night, just one game removed from a 16-point home loss to Baylor. UConn is an elite team, but they’re sitting at #6 until they show a more consistent string of dominance. 

#5 – Oregon State

The Beavers almost made it to these power rankings unscathed, but they fell victim to the wave of upsets as Arizona State took them down. Before that however, Oregon State beat Arizona on the road, handled Colorado easily, and stormed by Utah to start Pac-12 play. Prior to conference games, the Cowboys had won 12 straight, all by double digits. 

Louisville and Oregon State are both national title contenders. Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

#4 – Louisville

The Cardinals boast an extremely impressive resume already, and they are cruising in the ACC, posting a 4-0 record while barely breaking a sweat. Outside of a close road loss to Ohio State, Louisville has quality road wins over #11 Kentucky and #6 Oregon. They’re currently on an 8-game winning streak, a run that includes five road victories. 

#3 – Stanford

It was a close call between Stanford and Louisville, but the west coast squad got the bid for the third spot. The Cardinal have a signature blowout victory in a 27-point victory over a quality Tennessee team, and they have dominated the Pac-12 to start the year, going 4-0 with their closest contest being a 14 point victory. They also beat #10 Mississippi State and #16 Gonzaga this year, but the Cardinal will have to eventually start proving themselves on the road, as they’ve played just four games away from home, losing one of them. 

#2 – South Carolina

The Gamecocks are #1 in the AP Poll and #2 in the Coach’s poll, tussling for the top spot with Baylor. I gave the nod to Baylor, demoting South Carolina to #2 in the initial Power Rankings. South Carolina is third in the country in scoring margin, and they have quite simply dominated throughout the year. They have a road victory versus Maryland on their resume, and they’ve scored 90 or more points in six games, including four straight. They’ve beaten several ranked opponents in Arkansas and Kentucky, and Baylor, but their 14-point home loss to Indiana was hard to ignore.

#1 – Baylor

Baylor just ended UConn’s 98-game home winning streak, giving the Bears the premier win they needed the nab the top spot in the power rankings. The Baylor’s men team is ranked #2 in the AP Poll, giving Baylor probably the top basketball program in the country right now as a whole. The women’s team has given up the second least amount of points, scored the most, and subsequently, leads the country in scoring margin, having scored 100+ points a whopping four times already. Although they lost to South Carolina head to head, the Bears have won their ensuing games by 38.7 points per game, including the UConn victory. It’s a toss-up, but a gut feeling says to give the top spot to the Bears. We’ll see if they keep it through the next edition of power rankings.