Tag Archives: Auburn Tigers

25 Predictions for the 2017 College Football Season: 5 Through 1

Wisconsin and Penn State met in the 2016 Big Ten Championship game. Could they meet again in 2017? (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images North America)

25 Predictions for the 2017 College Football Season: 5 Through 1

The 2017 College Football season is starting this weekend and that means it is time to finish up predictions for the upcoming season. Despite what Nick Saban says about predictions, they are fun to make and see how they play out over an entire season. We will do something different than last year. In 2016, we made 5 predictions for each conference for a total of 55 predictions. The final total was 30.5 predictions correct for 55.5% hit rate.

This year we will make a total of 25 predictions with five each week until August 23. The predictions will range from conference winners to team win totals or bowl games to individual player performances. We will start with the mid-major conferences (predictions 25-16) before ending with the predictions for the Power 5 conferences (predictions 15-1).

This is the fifth edition and we will finish predicting the Power 5 Conferences. Below is the schedule for the 25 predictions.

Predictions 25-21: July 26 (Sun Belt, C-USA, Independents)

Predictions 20-16: August 2 (MAC, MWC, AAC)

Predictions 15-11: August 9 (Big 12, Pac-12)

Predictions 10-6: August 16 (Pac-12, ACC, SEC)

Predictions 5-1: August 23 (SEC, Big 10)

Predictions 5 Through 1

5. (SEC) A 2nd year head coach will win the SEC East – To be clear, this prediction is referring to a coach in his second year at his current school. Three coaches actually fall under this one with Kirby Smart at Georgia, Will Muschamp at South Carolina, and Barry Odom at Missouri. We mentioned Missouri in our last article (we really like their offense going into 2017) so our main focus will be on Georgia and South Carolina.

Georgia went 8-5 last year in Smart’s first season. This year he is armed with seven starters back on offense and 10 on defense. One would expect improvements on both sides of the ball, but more so on defense given Smart’s background. The Bulldogs gave up 24 points and 327 yards per game, which is respectable, but another step forward would make them an even tougher opponent. It is very difficult to see this group getting worse.

On offense, Georgia has Jacob Eason (2,430 yards with 16 touchdowns and 8 interceptions) back at quarterback. Also returning are Nick Chubb (1,130 yards and 8 TDs) and Sony Michel (840 yards and 4 TDs) to form a formidable backfield duo. The offense put up 24.5 points and 385 yards per game in 2016 and those numbers are likely to climb this season.

The key is the schedule and Georgia’s toughest games are versus Tennessee (away), Florida (in Jacksonville), South Carolina (home), and Auburn (away). Yes, three games are away from home, but this team can win all of those and claim the East.

South Carolina is interesting heading into 2017. Muschamp has been around the SEC a long time and his second season in charge at Florida resulted in his best result with the Gators. They went 11-2 overall and 7-1 in the SEC as Florida tied Georgia for the SEC East crown, but lost the head-to-head matchup to the Bulldogs. Things went downhill quickly for the Gators after that season, but one thing that remained was a very good defense.

Like Smart at Georgia, Muschamp has a strong defensive background. South Carolina allowed 26.5 points and 412 yards per game in his first season. Six starters return on that side of the ball and a step forward is expected from this unit.

On offense, the Gamecocks put up 20.8 points and 348 yards per game in 2016 with a quarterback carousel. 2017 sees 10 starters return including sophomore quarterback Jake Bentley (1,420 yards with 9 TDs and 4 interceptions after playing only 7 games). The top two running backs and top five receivers return, which should mean a vast improve in the performance of the offense. Of course, the big concern is if the offense does improve given some of the struggles Muschamp had at times in Gainesville.

South Carolina’s toughest SEC games are against Texas A&M (away), Arkansas (home), Tennessee (away), Georgia (away), and Florida (home). They too can win both games versus West opponents and a 2-1 split of the other games would go a long way to being the surprise in the East.

Both Georgia and South Carolina are set up for big moves in 2017 though Georgia looks a bit more ready to make the jump thanks to their offense. However, sometimes an excellent defense can carry a team, which may be what South Carolina needs in 2017.

4. (SEC) Auburn will win the SEC West – Let’s start by saying that Alabama is the team to beat in the West and entire SEC, but why make a prediction like that? We take a shot with the Auburn Tigers.

On offense, Auburn returns 8 starters though one of them will not be at quarterback. That will go to Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham who won the starting role earlier this month. He will have the luxury of Kamryn Pettway (1,224 yards and 7 TDs) and Kerryon Johnson (895 yards and 11 TDs) to run the ball. The passing attack should improve on the numbers of the last two seasons of 169 yards per game in 2016 and 174 yards per game in 2015. Stidham give this offense a boost and makes them even more potent.

The defense returns 7 starters from a unit that allowed 17.1 points and 362 yards per game. The top three tacklers and six of the top seven tacklers return to lead the defense. Keep in mind that 2016 was only the first year under defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. In theory, the second season should be even better if the schemes are truly cemented into the players’ heads. Overall, this unit should allow similar numbers to the 2016 squad.

As usual in the SEC West, the schedule is tough with three straight road games at LSU, Arkansas, and Texas A&M. There is a bye between the Razorbacks and Aggies, but that is still a brutal stretch when you consider that Georgia comes to town after the game versus Texas A&M. The final game is the Iron Bowl against Alabama and that comes at home, which should help the Tigers. It will be difficult for Auburn to defeat Alabama as well as win the West, but the Tigers are more than capable of doing both.

3. (Big 10) Northwestern will win at least 9 games – 2017 will mark the 12th season of Pat Fitzgerald in charge at Northwestern. In that time he has posted three seasons of nine or more wins (two of those were 10 win seasons). This year’s squad is loaded to give the Wildcats a shot at one of their big 9+ win seasons.

The offense will rely heavily on Justin Jackson and rightfully so. Jackson has 4,129 yards rushing in his career, which is already second best in Northwestern history. A 1,500 yard season would put Jackson at #2 all time in the Big 10. Also returning with Jackson are 7 other starters including quarterback Clayton Thorson (3,182 yards with 22 TDs and 9 interceptions). Thorson has come a long way since his 2015 season when he struggled at times. He will be missing his top target from last year in Austin Carr (90 catches for 1,247 yards and 12 TDs). The one to watch out for in 2017 is Jalen Brown, a former Oregon Duck.

The defense also returns 8 starters and this group did well in 2016 as they allowed 22.2 points and 404 yards per game. The front four and secondary return seven of the eight starters, which makes for a weaker linebacking group. Good thing they have a head coach in Fitzgerald who knows a thing or two about that position. In 2015 when Northwestern had 8 starters back they allowed 18.6 points and 319 yards per game. An improvement to those numbers in 2017 would make this team very dangerous.

Northwestern opens with three games they should win: Nevada (home), Duke (away), and Bowling Green (home). After a bye week, the Cats face Wisconsin (away) and Penn State (home) to start Big 10 play. The rest of the Big 10 schedule could result in wins: Maryland (away), Iowa (home), Michigan State (home), Nebraska (away), Purdue (home), Minnesota (home), and Illinois (away). Nebraska is the toughest of those games especially away from home, but 9 or 10 wins is definitely realistic.

2. (Big 10) Michigan State will miss a second straight bowl game – Between 2013 and 2015, the Spartans won the Rose Bowl and played in two Cotton Bowls, winning one. Then 2016 happened when they slumped to 3-9 winning just one game in the Big 10. The defense allowed 27.8 points per game, the most under Mark Dantonio. 

2017 sees four starters return on each side of the ball. Th offense loses quarterback Tyler O’Connor and top receiver RJ Shelton. LJ Scott does return after rushing for 994 yards and 6 TDs last year. Scott may burden a big load early in the season as new starters all over the field go through the learning curve. In 2016, the offense also had four returning starters and put up 24.1 points and 395 yards per game.

The defense has four starters back from a group that allowed 27.8 points and 365 yards per game. The biggest concern is the defensive line that allowed 159 yards rushing per game in 2016 and have just one returning starter after off the field issues saw two others dismissed. Similar numbers are expected, but with Dantonio the defense could surprise to the good side.

The schedule for the Spartans is filled with tough games. After a bye on September 16, they will face Notre Dame (home), Iowa (home), and Michigan (away) in three straight games. The end of October and beginning of November is another brutal stretch: Northwestern (away), Penn State (home), and Ohio State (away). The margin for error is small this year for Michigan State especially with the inexperience and off-season turmoil.

We will be honest, 2018 looks like it could be an exceptional season for Michigan State. Assuming that all the 2017 non-senior starters return, there would be 20 starters back in 2018 (10 on each side of the ball). That could be a team to watch next season.

1. (Big 10) The Big 10 will win the National Championship – There are three main contenders to win the Big 10: Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin. And as we saw in 2016, you do not need to win your conference to make the Playoffs.

Ohio State had just 6 starters back in 2016 yet went 11-2 and made the Playoffs. Now they have 15 starters back and once again are the Big 10 favorites with all the firepower returning on offense an defense. Ohio State has three tough games in 2017: Oklahoma at in week two, Penn State at home at the end of October, and at Michigan to end the regular season. Expect the Buckeyes to be favored in all their games in 2017 barring some serious trouble.

Penn State is another contender to win the Big 10 after their awesome 2016 season. They went 11-3 while winning the Big 10 and made numerous comebacks in the second half of games throughout the season. Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley make a dangerous backfield combination that is up there with any other backfield QB/RB duo in the country. Just imagine how good the Nittany Lions might be if they decide to not spot their opponents points in the first half.

Penn State has a brutal four game stretch over a five week span: Northwestern (away), Michigan (home), Ohio State (away), and Michigan State (away). The Spartans should not pose a serious threat, but given the game is after back-to-back games against the Wolverines and Buckeyes, there is the slight chance for a let down.

The third top contender is Wisconsin, who has an incredibly friendly Big 10 schedule. They do face BYU on the road September 16 before a bye week. The Big 10 schedules opens with Northwestern at home and Nebraska on the road. In November, they welcome both Iowa and Michigan to Madison while playing Minnesota in the finale. The Badgers have a good shot of going undefeated where they will probably meet up with either Ohio State or Penn State.

There are two dark horse contenders in Michigan and Northwestern. We discussed the Wildcats two predictions above and concede that they are a very long shot to even reach the Big 10 title game. Michigan will be in year three under Jim Harbaugh, but the losses are severe. Just four starters are back on offense and only one starter returns on defense. They have a brutal schedule of Florida (in Arlington, Texas), Penn State (away), Wisconsin (away), and Ohio State (home). The Wolverines are capable of getting to the Big 10 Championship and even the Playoffs, but it does not look likely in 2017.

It it tough to project the four teams in the College Football due to the multitude of matchup possibilities. Ohio State is probably the best of the trio mentioned above and loom as the Big 10’s best chance to win the National Championship. However, do not underestimate Penn State or Wisconsin from reaching the Playoffs where anything can happen.

That concludes our 25 predictions for the 2017 season, however, we will give one bonus prediction below.

Bonus: At least 10 FCS teams will defeat FBS teams – Does it seem like FCS teams upsetting FBS teams is happening more often? If so, that is because it is happening more often. Between 2004 and 2009, FCS teams averaged 4.3 wins per year against FBS teams with a high of 9 in 2007. Since 2010, that average has more than doubled to an average of 9.6 wins per season. 2013 saw the most FCS upsets with 16 and each of the last five seasons have produced at least 8 FCS wins against the FBS.

Here is a link to all the FCS versus FBS matchups in 2017. There are 98 matchups featuring FCS against FBS teams, which means roughly 10% of the games will require an upset for this prediction to be correct. With FCS teams becoming more and more competitive, it makes sense they would defeat FBS teams more often. Let’s hope that is the case in 2017 as well.

You have reached the end of our predictions. We hope you enjoyed reading them and hope you follow along  to see how they turn out for the 2017 season. Enjoy the start of the 2017 season!

Under The Radar Games For College Football Week 1

Christian McCaffrey is in action on Friday night against Kansas State (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images North America)
Christian McCaffrey is in action on Friday night against Kansas State (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images North America)

Under The Radar Games For College Football Week 1

College Football began on August 26 with Hawaii and California playing in Sydney, Australia. That game was followed up by the five time defending FCS Champions North Dakota State surviving an overtime game against Charleston Southern. The season begins in full force on Thursday, September 1 with sixteen games.

Many of the top matchups are getting most of the press and rightfully so. LSU versus Wisconsin, USC versus Alabama, Notre Dame at Texas, Ole Miss versus Florida State, Georgia versus North Carolina, Clemson at Auburn, and Oklahoma versus Houston are all tantalizing on paper. All of those games will be fun to watch, but let’s take at some of the games that may not be on the radar.

Note, these games are listed in order of when they will be played.

1. South Carolina at Vanderbilt (9/1 at 8 PM EST) – This probably does not strike as much, but it could be a game that determines if one of these schools reaches a bowl game in 2016. This will be Will Muschamp’s first game at South Carolina and he inherits just nine returning starters (four on offense and five on defense). It will be interesting to see if Vanderbilt’s offense can improve from 2015 and the impact Muschamp has on the South Carolina team.

2. Kansas State at Stanford (9/2 at 9 PM EST) – A Friday night game at the Farm featuring Heisman hopeful Christian McCaffrey against a formidable Bill Snyder coached Kansas State defense is worth watching. Heck, just a chance to see McCaffrey in action is a game worth watching. Can the K-State defense keep McCaffrey somewhat in check? How will Stanford’s new quarterback play? Can K-State keep the game close and provide some worry to the Stanford fans? There are a lot of things that will be interesting to keep track of in this one.

3. Western Michigan at Northwestern (9/3 at 12 PM EST) – Western Michigan is a team that could make some serious noise in the MAC West in 2016. A game against a team like Northwestern will be a very good measuring stick. The Broncos have offensive weapons like quarterback Zach Terrell (3,510 yards with 67% completions as well as 29 touchdowns and 9 interceptions), Jamauri Bogan (1,051 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns), Jarvion Franklin (735 yards rushing and five touchdowns), and receiver Corey Davis (90 catches for 1,436 yards and 12 touchdowns). Meanwhile, how Clayton Thorson progressed for the Northwestern offense is a big question because they cannot rely solely on Justin Jackson (1,418 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns).

4. Missouri at West Virginia (9/3 at 12 PM EST) – Missouri had one of the top defenses from last year (gave up 16.2 points and 302 yards per game) while West Virginia averaged 34 points and 480 yards per game. The contrasting styles and how each team can effectively make adjustments will be exciting to see.

5. UCLA at Texas A&M (9/3 at 3:30 PM EST) – UCLA is coming off an 8-5 season and is considered one of the favorites for the Pac-12 and Pac-12 Title. They are led by sophomore Josh Rosen (3,668 yards with 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions) and have nine starters back on defense. Kevin Sumlin may be under the microscope more than usual this year after back-to-back 8-5 seasons. Two former Sooners will be in the back for the Aggies as Trevor Knight and Keith Ford. The Aggies will also have back the top five receivers from 2015 and this could be a fun game to watch if the offenses explode.

6. BYU versus Arizona (9/3 at 10:30 PM EST) – BYU may appear on this list quite often given their schedule. Taysom Hill is back for yet another season and he goes up against an Arizona team that went 7-6 last year and returns 15 starters. This game will also be Kalani Sitake’s first game in charge of BYU after 11 years of Bronco Mendenhall. This game will be a fun one to watch between Arizona’s Anu Solomon and Hill.

7. FCS Teams versus FBS Teams – These matchups are always worth keeping an eye on because they can produce some shocking results (see Portland State winning not once, but twice in 2015 against FCS teams). It is always great to see the FCS teams holding a late lead and see if they can complete the upset.

Check back next week for under the radar games for week two.

Five Predictions For Southeastern Conference In 2016

Nick Saban has led Alabama to four National Championships in his time at the school. (ean M. Haffey/Getty Images North America)
Nick Saban has led Alabama to four National Championships in his time at the school. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images North America)

Five Predictions For Southeastern Conference In 2016

The 2016 College Football season began last night with California defeating Hawaii 51-31 in Sydney, Australia. Below are five predictions for Southeastern Conference for the 2016 season. Some predictions will be right, some predictions will be wrong, and some will be spectacularly awful (or correct) by the end of the season.

There are no changes to the teams for the Southeastern Conference as the fourteen teams remain the same and are split into East and West Divisions. The seven teams in the East Division are Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt. The seven teams in the West Division are Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, and Texas A&M.

Here are five predictions for the Southeastern Conference in 2016:

1. Every SEC West team will make a bowl game – The SEC West has done this two years in a row already with every team going to a bowl in both 2014 and 2015. In both of those years, every team finished with a winning record as well. The SEC West sets up well again for it to be three straight years with every team making a bowl game. No time needs to be spent on Alabama, LSU, or Ole Miss as they should easily reach six wins.

Arkansas – They play Louisiana Tech, Texas State, and Alcorn State in the state of Arkansas (the Alcorn State game is played in Little Rock), and TCU on the road for their non-conference schedule. From the East, they draw Florida at home and Missouri on the road. They may need two or three wins against SEC West opponents to reach six wins.

Auburn – They face Clemson, Arkansas State, Louisiana Monroe, and Alabama A&M at home in their non-conference schedule. They also draw Vanderbilt out of the East, which means they only need two wins against fellow SEC West opponents if they go 4-1 against the aforementioned opponents.

Mississippi State – Their non-conference schedule consists of South Alabama and Samford at home while facing Massachusetts and BYU on the road. A 3-1 record looks like the worst case scenario for the Bulldogs and they draw South Carolina (home) and Kentucky (road) from the East.

Texas A&M – They have to face UCLA, Prairie View, New Mexico State, and UT-San Antonio out of conference all at home. They will play South Carolina (away) and Tennessee from the East. Like Auburn, if they go 4-2 in those games, they will only need two wins against the SEC West.

It looks likely the SEC West will make it three straight seasons with every team making a bowl if each of the teams above only require two wins to reach six wins. Every team is capable of grabbing a couple of wins against fellow SEC West teams.

2. Kentucky will not reach that elusive bowl game – Kentucky has not been to a bowl game since 2010 when they lost to Pittsburgh 27-10 in the Compass Bowl. This will be Mark Stoops’ fourth year and the seat will be a lot hotter if the season unravels as it has the past two years.

In 2014, Kentucky opened with a 5-1 record that included a triple overtime loss to Florida on the road. The final six games featured five losses by double digits and a close loss on the road to rival Louisville (44-40). In 2015, Kentucky had another strong start going 4-1 with another close loss to Florida. They went 1-6 in their final seven games with a victory over Charlotte and two close losses to Auburn (30-27) and Vanderbilt (21-17).

There are nine starters back on the offensive unit after putting up 24.7 points and 372 yards per game last year (both down from 2014). One of those two starters being replaced is at quarterback where Drew Barker is expected to take over. He only threw for 364 yards with a touchdown and two picks in just two starts last season. He has the top four running backs as well as the top ten receivers from 2015 returning. The offense should be more efficient and there are plenty of reasons for Barker to succeed.

The defense returns just five starters from their unit that allowed 27.4 points and 394 yards per game in 2015. That was an improvement of nearly four points and 13 yards per game over 2014’s defense. However, this year the losses are heavy as seven of the top eight tacklers have left. This is the area of concern for the Wildcats and may prevent them from getting to six wins.

2016 starts with Southern Miss at home and then Florida on the road before back-to-back home games against New Mexico State and South Carolina. A 3-1 record is mandatory for Kentucky to have a chance at making a bowl. Alabama (road) and Vanderbilt (home) are the next two games before a bye. The final half of the season only gets harder. They finish with Mississippi State (home), Missouri (away), Georgia (home), Tennessee (away), Austin Peay (home), and Louisville (away). The Wildcats are going to need a few upsets (and avoid that second half of the season swoon) if they are to end the bowl drought.

3. Vanderbilt will make a bowl game – 2016 will be Derek Mason’s third year and it is clear that the team is heading in the right direction. They went 3-9 in 2014 and 4-8 in 2015 with a huge improvement on defense. After allowing 33.3 points per game in 2014, they only allowed 21 points per game last year. The offense needs improvement after putting up just 15.2 points and 327 yards per game. That side of the ball will have running back Ralph Webb again after rushing for 1,152 yards and 5 touchdowns. The quarterback play will be better regardless of who wins after throwing for just 172 yards per game in 2015. There are eight starters back on offense and offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig is in his second year.

The defense will have seven starters back with Mason running the unit again. Four of the top five tacklers are back while nearly all of the secondary returns. It would not be surprising to see the Commodores have another very good season on defense and it will need to be if they are to make a bowl appearance.

The schedule is challenging for Vanderbilt, but not overwhelming to start the season. They have South Carolina and Middle Tennessee at home before back-to-back road games at Georgia Tech and Western Kentucky. Up next are Florida (home), Kentucky (road), Georgia (road), and Tennessee State (home) before their final four games in November. They take on Auburn and Missouri on the road while facing Ole Miss and Tennessee at home. Vandy can start no worse than 3-1 if they are to have a shot at making a bowl game, but that start is very doable.

4. The Arkansas-Mississippi State game will determine the last place finisher in the SEC West – These two teams appear to be the weakest on paper, but that is why they play the games. Both teams lost their quarterback from last year (Dak Prescott for MSU and Brandon Allen for Arkansas). Both teams also lost their leading rusher (Prescott for MSU and Alex Collins for Arkansas). However, both teams return their top receiver from a year ago (Fred Ross for MSU and Drew Morgan for Arkansas).

The key for this prediction is how well the teams have come together and there will be plenty of time for that as Arkansas travels to Starkville on November 19 (the tenth game of the year for both teams). The Bulldogs having won four straight in the series, but the last three have been decided by a touchdown or less. While both teams have rivalry games the next week (MSU in the Egg Bowl vs Ole Miss and Arkansas versus Missouri), no game in the SEC West can be classified as a trap game this year.

5. Missouri will win the SEC East – This seems preposterous with the amount of hype around Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida, but let’s take a look outside the box. Missouri lost long time head coach Gary Pinkel as he retired after 15 years at the helm. Taking over is defensive coordinator Barry Odom who was with the team in 2015 and also played as a linebacker the school from 1995 to 1999.

The offense returns just five starters, but last year’s unit was abysmal averaging just 13.6 points (only Kent State’s 13.1 points per game were worse in the FBS) and 281 yards of offense per game. Former Oklahoma Sooner quarterback Josh Heupel is the offensive coordinator and a fellow Sooner is in the backfield in Alex Ross to give the rushing attack a spark. Drew Lock is back at quarterback after throwing for 1,322 yards with 4 touchdowns and 8 interceptions (49%) while starting the last eight games. The top receivers are back as well and the only place this offense can go is up.

The real crux of this team is the defense, which a large part of the reason the team did not end up worse than 5-7 last year. They gave up just 16.2 points and 302 yards per game in 2015 and now have eight starters back. Six of the top seven tacklers return as well as the entire defensive line and two of the three linebackers from last year. The defense has given up 133 and 134 yards rushing per game the last two years and they should duplicate that again in 2016.

Missouri does not have the friendliest SEC schedule. They start with Georgia at home on September 17 before a road game at LSU on October 1. Up next are the Gators on the road again October 15, but at least they have a bye week to prepare for that contest. Middle Tennessee (home), Kentucky (home), South Carolina (road), and Vanderbilt (home) all lead up to their final pair of games: on the road at Tennessee and home to Arkansas.

Since joining the SEC, Missouri is 2-2 against Florida, 1-3 against Georgia, and 3-1 against Tennessee. Perhaps the biggest test is not their penultimate game (Tenn), but the third game of the season against Georgia. If the offense improves by a touchdown or ten points a game along with the defense that should be very tough and keep them in every game, then these Tigers could surprise some teams this year.

The Predictions

With the SEC predictions above, predictions have been made for every conference. Links to all the predictions for each conference are provided below.

July 17 – FBS Independents

July 17 – Sun Belt

July 23 – C-USA

July 24 – MAC

July 30 – American Athletic

July 31 – Mountain West

August 7 – Big 12

August 13 – Atlantic Coast

August 14 – Pac-12

August 20 – Big Ten

August 27 – SEC

Oklahoma Wins 2016 NCAA Division 1 Softball Title

(Photo Courtesy of OU Softball on Twitter)
(Photo Courtesy of OU Softball on Twitter)

Oklahoma Wins 2016 NCAA Division 1 Softball Title

The Oklahoma Sooners won the 2016 NCAA Division 1 Softball Championship with an exciting 2-1 win over Auburn in game three of the Championship Series. It was the third National Championship for Oklahoma after winning in 2000 and 2013.

Oklahoma (57-8), as they had done in both games 1 and 2, started the scoring. A one out single by Caleigh Clifton was followed by two throwing errors on Game 2 heroine Emily Carosone that allowed Clifton to score. Fale Aviu brought home Shay Knighten two batters later to make it 2-0 Sooners after one inning.

Auburn (58-12) started the top of the second with straight singles, but went down in order to end the bright start to the innings. The Tigers had an even better opportunity in the third with an error by Oklahoma’s Paige Parker allowing Victoria Draper to reach first. Singles by Tiffany Howard and Kasey Cooper loaded the bases for Carosone, but she struck out and a double play ground ball by Carlee Wallace ended the scoring chance.

Auburn finally broke through in the top of the third with a rocket of lead off home run by Jade Rhodes. That made it 2-1 in favor of Oklahoma while Parker would give up a walk to force some action in the Sooner bullpen. Parker got out of the inning with no further damage by retiring the next three batters.


Oklahoma had a chance to pad their 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth with two on and two out, but a Lea Wodach ground out ended the inning.

The top of the seventh started with Parker striking out Madi Gipson. Parker then induced a pop out from Whitney Jordan before a nerve racking 11 pitch at bat to Courtney Shea led to the Championship clinching victory.

Parker (38-3) went the distance giving up just the one run on five hits while striking out 5 batters to win her 27th straight start. She was named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after going 10-0 in the postseason and 5-0 in the WCWS. The Sooners won 32 of their final 33 games en route to the Title.

Jade Rhodes was the sole Auburn player to record multiple going 2 for 3 including the solo shot in the fourth inning. Makayla Martin went a solid six innings giving up two runs on five hits. The Tigers were attempting to win their first softball National Championship.

Oklahoma becomes the third team to win at least three National Championships after UCLA and Arizona.

Walk Off Grand Slam By Auburn Ties Up WCWS Championship Series

Softball pic

Walk Off Grand Slam By Auburn Ties Up WCWS Championship Series

The Auburn Tigers defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 11-7 in 8 innings thanks to Emily Carosone’s walk off grand slam. The win pushed the 2016 Women’s College World Series to a decisive and winner take all game three.

The Sooners got the scoring started in the top of the first with a two out infield single by Fale Aviu with Aviu beating the throw to first to allow Erin Miller to score. The Sooners left runners stranded on second and third, but took a 1-0 lead after a half inning.

The Sooners built a bigger lead in the second with a lead off homer by Kady Self. That was just the beginning as back-t0-back singles followed by a throwing error allowed a run to score and it became a 3-0 game. Two straight squeeze bunts and a single brought home three more runs for the Sooners to push the lead to 6-0 and forced Auburn’s starting pitcher Kaylee Carlson out of the circle. Oklahoma added another run with a single by Nicole Pendley and led 7-0 after just an inning and a half.

However, the Tigers had a scoring barrage of their own in the bottom of the second. Carlee Wallace was hit by a pitch to start the inning, but two straight strikeouts left Auburn against the wall. After a walk, Whitney Jordan hit a three run home run to left field to get Auburn on the board. After an error, Tiffany Howard tripled home another run to make it 7-4 Sooners and that chased Oklahoma’s Kelsey Stevens from the circle.

The Tigers got a single from Kasey Cooper to drive home Howard while a hit by pitch and walk loaded the bases for Auburn. The rally ended with Jade Rhodes striking out to end the second, but Auburn cut the deficit to 7-5.

Auburn would complete the 7 run comeback in the bottom of the fourth with a single from Howard followed by a two run blast to right field by Cooper.

Oklahoma had a great chance to reclaim the lead in the top of the sixth. A two out single by Caleigh Clifton was followed by a deep shot to left field by Shay Knighten. The ball was headed over the fence when Auburn’s Tiffany Howard made a great catch to keep the game tied at 7.


The fatal blow for Oklahoma came in the bottom of the eighth. After a ground out, two singles and a bunt loaded the bases for Emily Carosone. Carosone took the pitch over the right center field to end the game in grand fashion.


The Sooners RBIs from six different hitters, but only Sydney Romero and Kady Self had multiple hits. Jayden Chestnut took the loss after throwing 5 2/3 innings giving up 6 runs on 11 hits. Oklahoma had won 31 straight games prior to this loss.


Auburn was led by Tiffany Howard who went 4 for 5 with one RBI and three runs scored. Carosone went 3 for 4 with all four her RBIs coming on the last pitch. Kasey Cooper went 2 for 4 with three RBI. Makayla Martin was awarded the win after tossing two innings and giving up only one hit. However, it was Rachael Walters who helped the Tigers from giving up more runs after the Sooners built a 7-0 lead. Walters threw 5 innings of shutout ball giving up just four hits.

Oklahoma won game one 3-2 on Monday nightGame three of the WCWS Championship Series will be Wednesday at 7 PM Eastern Time. The winner of that game will be crowned the 2016 NCAA Division 1 National Champions.

DateGame NumberTime (Eastern)
Team #1Team #2Final ScoreNotes
6/6/2016Game #18 PM
#4 Auburn#3 Oklahoma2-3Recap
6/7/2016Game #28 PM
#3 Oklahoma#4 Auburn7-11 (8 Innings)Recap
6/8/2016Game #37 PM
#4 Auburn#3 Oklahoma1-2Oklahoma Wins 2016 National Championship

Oklahoma Takes Game 1 of 2016 WCWS Championship Series

Softball pic

Oklahoma Takes Game 1 of 2016 WCWS Championship Series

The Oklahoma Sooners fended off a late seventh inning rally by Auburn to win the first game of the 2016 WCWS Championship Series 3-2. Sydney Romero’s three run shot in the third inning proved to be the difference.

The Sooners’ Kelsey Arnold drew a walk to start the bottom of the third followed by a bunt by Erin Miller that put two on with no outs. After Auburn forced a strike out and fly out, Romero came up and hit a three run shot to left-center to give the Sooners a 3-0 lead.

The Sooners loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth after three straight hits by Miller, Caleigh Clifton, and Shay Knighten. Romero came up with one out, but grounded into a double play to end the inning with the Sooners still leading 3-2.

The Auburn Tigers did not have many chances to score in the first six innings, but that changed dramatically in the seventh. Carlee Wallace drew a lead off walk before Jade Rhodes lifted a two run shot over the center field wall to close the deficit to one run.

The Tigers were not done threatening as Haley Fagan singled up the middle and a throwing error by Paige Parker on a hit back to her allowed runners to be on second and third with only one out. The Sooners forced a ground ball fielder’s choice that threw the runner out at home thanks to a heads up play by Knighten. That gave Auburn two outs with runners on the corners, but Tiffany Howard popped out to end the game.

Parker got the win for Oklahoma after throwing a complete game allowing four hits and three walks with only one strikeout. She threw 91 pitches in the game to push her 2016 Tournament total to 955. She has won 26 straight starts in the circle.

Lexi Davis, the surprise starter for Auburn, pitch 6 innings giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks with only one strikeout. Davis had only pitched one inning in the NCAA Tournament prior to this game.

Game Two of the 2016 WCWS Championship Series will be on Tuesday at 8 PM Eastern Time. Auburn will be the home team as they look to stave off elimination while Oklahoma would capture their third National Championship with a win.


2016 Women’s College World Series Schedule

Softball pic

2016 Women’s College World Series Schedule

The final eight teams in the 2016 NCAA Division 1 Softball season will be playing for the chance to win the Women’s College World Series with an updated bracket here. Each game of the 2016 Women’s College World Series will take place from ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The 8 teams will compete in a double elimination format until only two teams are left. Those two remaining teams will then play in a best of three championship series to determine the National Champion.

The two-time defending National Champions, the Florida Gators, were knocked out in the Super Regional round by Georgia so there will be a new Champion crowned in 2016. All of the schools in the 2016 WCWS have previously been to the Women’s College World Series. Results for the Regional round can be found here while the Super Regional results can be found here.

Returning from the 2015 WCWS are Michigan, Auburn, LSU, Alabama, and UCLA.

Below are the eight teams that made the 2016 Women’s College World Series.

SeedTeamRecordConferenceWCWS Appearances (Including 2016)
2Michigan51-5Big Ten12th
3Oklahoma52-7Big 1210th
8Florida State53-8ACC9th

The Women’s College World Series will get underway on Thursday, June 2 with four games scheduled for the opening day. The entire schedule can be found in the table below with the Championship Series located in a separate table. The tables below will be updated with final scores as the games go final each day.

6/2/2016 Update: The final two games scheduled for Thursday, June 2 were postponed to Friday due to weather. If games 13 and/or 14 are needed to be played, they will take place on Monday, June 6, pushing back the start to the Championship Series to Tuesday, June 7. If games 13 and/or 14 are not needed, the Championship Series will begin on Monday, June 6 as scheduled.

DateGame NumberTime (Eastern)
Team #1Team #2Final ScoreNotes
6/2/2016Game #112 PM
#16 Georgia#8 Florida State5-4
6/2/2016Game #22:45 PM
#12 UCLA#4 Auburn3-10
6/3/2016Game #37 PM
#6 Alabama#3 Oklahoma0-3 (8 Innings)Postponed to 6/3 due to weather
6/3/2016Game #49:30 PM
#10 LSU#2 Michigan0-2Postponed to 6/3 due to weather
6/4/2016Game #57 PM
#4 Auburn#16 Georgia4-3
6/4/2016Game #69:30 PM
#3 Oklahoma#2 Michigan7-5
6/4/2016Game #712 PM
#8 Florida State#12 UCLA8-4UCLA Eliminated
6/4/2016Game #83:20 PM
#10 LSU#6 Alabama6-4Alabama Eliminated
6/5/2016Game #91 PM
#2 Michigan#8 Florida State0-1Michigan Eliminated
6/5/2016Game #103:35 PM
#16 Georgia#10 LSU1-4Georgia Eliminated
6/5/2016Game #117 PM
#8 Florida State#4 Auburn7-8 (8 Innings)Florida State Eliminated
6/5/2016Game #1210:40 PM
#3 Oklahoma#10 LSU7-3LSU Eliminated
6/6/2016Game #137 PM
Game #11 LoserGame #11 WinnerIf Necessary
6/6/2016Game #149:30 PM
Game #12 LoserGame #12 WinnerIf Necessary

2016 Women’s College World Series Championship Series

DateGame NumberTime (Eastern)
Team #1Team #2Final ScoreNotes
6/6/2016Game #18 PM
#4 Auburn#3 Oklahoma2-3Recap
6/7/2016Game #28 PM
#3 Oklahoma#4 Auburn7-11 (8 Innings)Recap
6/8/2016Game #37 PM
#4 Auburn#3 Oklahoma1-2Oklahoma Wins 2016 National Championship

2015 College Football Preview: SEC West

Nick Saban has brought Alabama back to prominence and the Tide are always a Championship Contender with him at the helm. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America)
Nick Saban has brought Alabama back to prominence and the Tide are always a Championship Contender with him at the helm. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America)

2015 College Football Preview: SEC West

We have reached our final preview in the 2015 College Football Preview series here at Sports Enthusiasts. The SEC West, along with the SEC Championship, are in the crosshairs and what a final division we have to look at. Below are all the previews done to this point, so please feel free to check those out.

MAC East Division – July 1

MAC West Division – July 3

Mountain West, Mountain Division – July 7

Mountain West, West Division – July 10

C-USA East Division – July 14

C-USA West Division – July 17

The American East Division – July 21

The American West Division – July 24

FBS Independents – July 28

Sun Belt – July 28

Big 12 – July 31

ACC Coastal Division – August 4

ACC Atlantic Division – August 7

Big 10 West Division – August 11

Big 10 East Division – August 14

Pac-12 North Division – August 18

Pac-12 South Division – August 21

SEC East Division – August 25

SEC West Division – August 28

Let’s take a look at the one of the toughest divisions in college football, the SEC West.

1. LSU Tigers

Les Miles has been wonderful at LSU. In his 10 years, he has won at ten games 7 times and his “worst” year has been an 8-5 recorded in both 2008 and 2014. LSU lost the 2011 BCS Championship to Alabama 21-0 and followed that with back-to-back 10-3 seasons. 2014 was plagued by inconsistency at quarterback and both return in 2015.

The offense will have nine starters returning from a group that put 27.6 points and 387 yards per game. Brandon Harris is expected to win the starting quarterback job after throwing for 452 yards with 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He will have Anthony Jennings (1,611 yards with 11 touchdowns and 7 interceptions) behind him if he cannot handle those duties. Leonard Fournette was hyped as the next-coming in 2014 and he finished the year with a solid 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns while better production is expected of him in 2015. The top four receivers all return, however, their numbers are hardly overwhelming. Travin Dural had 37 catches for 758 yards and 7 touchdowns, Malachi Dupre had 14 receptions for 318 yards and 5 touchdowns, John Diarse caught 15 passes for 275 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Trey Quinn finished with 17 catches for 193 yards. With three starters back on the offensive line as well as better quarterback play in 2015, the offense should produce better numbers than they did last year.

LSU’s defense is usually pretty good. 2014 was no exception with the team yielding 17.5 points and 317 yards per game. In 2015, there will be six starters back with two on the defensive line. Those two will be Christian LaCouture (40 tackles and 2.5 sacks) and Davon Godchaux (42 tackles). LSU loses linebacker Kwon Alexander (90 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 6 tackles for loss), but does have Kendall Beckwith (77 tackles, 2 sacks, and 5.5 tackles for loss) and Lamar Louis (29 tackles) returning. The secondary has two starters back as well with Jalen Mills leading the way (62 tackles, 5 pass breakups, and 1 interception), but he will miss at least the first four weeks due to leg surgery. The other returning starter is Tre’Davious White, who had 33 tackles, 6 pass breakups, and 2 interceptions while Jamal Adams was integral in 2014 with 66 tackles, 1 sack, and 4 tackles for loss. The defense will be stingy again in 2015, especially when Mills returns.

LSU has a non-conference schedule of McNeese State (home), Syracuse (road), Eastern Michigan (home), and Western Kentucky (home), which makes them very likely to go 4-0 in those games. In their division, they will face Mississippi State, Alabama, and Ole Miss on the road in three very tough games while playing Auburn, Arkansas, and Texas A&M at home. From the East, they will play South Carolina (road) and Florida (home) in two winnable games. The games against Alabama on November 7, Arkansas on November 14, and Mississippi on November 21 are sure to determine whether LSU wins the SEC West.

2. Alabama Crimson Tide

We all know that Nick Saban has been great at Alabama. After a 7-6 record in his first year during the 2007 season, Alabama has won at least 10 games every year since 2008. He has won three SEC Championships as well as three National Titles for the Crimson Tide. The one concern (if you can call it that) is the defense has given up 45 points and 42 points, respectively, in the past two years during the Sugar Bowl. Alabama lost both of those games including last year when they were eliminated the College Football Playoff Semifinals by eventual national champion Ohio State.

The offense put up 36.9 points and 485 yards per game in 2014 with Lane Kiffin at the helm, but 2015 will be interesting with only three starters returning. Jake Coker will be at quarterback after throwing for 403 yards with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions last year, but has plenty of talent after battling Jameis Winston when he was at Florida State. Derrick Henry was the top running back in 2014 with 990 yards and 11 touchdowns in a deep backfield while Kenyan Drake (112 yards and 4 touchdowns) is back after a broken leg last year. The biggest loss was at wide receiver with Amari Cooper (124 catches for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns) going on to the NFL. There is a lot of talent here (Robert Foster, Calvin Ridley, Daylon Charlot) and a bit of experience in OJ Howard (17 catches for 260 yards), Chris Black (15 catches for 188 yards), and ArDarius Stewart (12 catches for 149 yards), but that production will be impossible to replace. There will also be only two starters back on the line so the work will be cut out for Saban and Kiffin. It is hard to see the offense producing the same numbers in 2015 as they did in 2014.

The defense is almost always spectacular under Saban. Their worst year since 2008 was actually last year when they allowed 18.4 points and 328 yards per game, which is still a very good season. Seven starters are back in 2015 including all three on the defensive line. Jonathan Allen had 33 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and 6 tackles for loss, A’Shawn Robinson had 49 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss, and Jarran Reed had 55 tackles, 1 sack, and 5.5 tackles for loss. Returning at linebacker will be the duo of Reggie Ragland (95 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 9 tackles for loss) and Denzel Devall (11 tackles) who made seven starters and was out with injury for six games. The secondary is led by Cyrus Jones, who had 46 tackles, 13 pass breakups, and 3 interceptions. Also returning in the secondary is Eddie Jackson (41 tackles, 6 pass breakups, and an interception). Look for another big year from the defense that could have even better numbers than they had in 2014.

Alabama opens the year with the tough neutral site game against Wisconsin in Arlington, Texas. They will also face the trio of Middle Tennessee, Louisiana-Monroe, and Charleston Southern at home to close out their non-conference schedule. They will have to play Ole Miss, Arkansas, and LSU at home while facing Texas A&M, Mississippi State, and Auburn on the road. From the East, Alabama will play Georgia (road) and Tennessee (home). The offense is the obvious concern for Alabama, but their defense should be good enough to keep them in every game while the offense finds its feet.

3. Mississippi Rebels

Ole Miss went 4-8 in 2010 and 2-10 in 2011 in Houston Nutt’s last two years. They decided to bring in Hugh Freeze, who has steadily turned around the Rebels. He paid immediate dividends by taking the Rebels to a bowl game in his first season and then went 8-5 in 2013. 2014 was a really good season for them with a 9-4 record including a 23-17 victory over #4 Alabama at home, but were blown out by an excellent (and angry) TCU squad in the Peach Bowl.

The offense has been good under Freeze in all three seasons. In 2013, they put up 30 points and 473 yards per game while those numbers dropped a bit in 2014 to 28.3 points and 419 yards per game. There will be nine starters back for Ole Miss this year, but quarterback Bo Wallace is gone. The good news for the Rebels is they have Clemson transfer Chad Kelly ready to take over immediately after a year in the junior college ranks. They will also have the top two running backs from last year in Jaylen Walton (586 yards and 5 touchdowns) and Jordan Wilkins (361 yards and a touchdown). The receiving unit looks to be in good shape even without their top man from 2014. Evan Engram (38 catches for 662 yards and 2 touchdowns), Cody Core (41 receptions for 558 yards and 6 touchdowns, and, of course, the return of LaQuon Treadwell (48 catches for 632 yards and 5 touchdowns). The entire offensive line returns and despite the loss of Wallace, the offense should be able to put up good numbers again in 2015.

The defense was very good in 2014 by giving up only 16 points and 329 yards per game. Seven starters will be back from that defense led by the trio of Robert Nkemdiche (35 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 tackles for loss), Isaac Gross (37 tackles, 1 sack, and 7 tackles for loss), and Marquis Haynes (31 tackles and 7.5 sacks) on the line. Also in the mix on the line are junior college transfer DJ Jones, redshirt freshman Breeland Speaks, and senior Channing Ward (30 tackles and 2.5 sacks). CJ Johnson is back at linebacker (38 tackles, 4 sacks, and 4 tackles for loss) and will be joined by Denzel Nkemdiche (28 tackles and 1 sack), who missed the final five games of the year due to a broken ankle. The secondary will have three starters back led by Tony Conner (69 tackles, 1 sack, 8 tackles for loss, and an interception), Mike Hilton (71 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 7 pass breakups, and 3 interceptions), and Trae Elston (59 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and an interception). The defense will be good again in 2015, but may not match the same numbers from 2014.

Ole Miss has an easy non-conference schedule with Tennessee-Martin, Fresno State, and New Mexico State at home and a single road game at Memphis. In division, they face Alabama, Auburn, and Mississippi State on the road and Texas A&M, Arkansas, and LSU at home. From the East, Ole Miss will take on Florida (road) and Vanderbilt (home). The Rebels will have a really good shot at a double digit win season and are in contention for the SEC West title.

4. Arkansas Razorbacks

Bret Bielema came to Arkansas in 2013 and the Razorbacks had a rough first year under him. They went 3-0 to start the season, but lost the final nine games. However, the final three games saw an improved Arkansas team that nearly upset #15 LSU on the road as a 26 point underdog. 2014 was better with Arkansas going 6-6 in the regular season including back-to-back upset shutouts of LSU (17-0) and Ole Miss (30-0). They also nearly upset Alabama at home and lost by a touchdown to the trio of Texas A&M, Mississippi State, and Missouri.

The offense for Bielema will have nine starters back. In 2013, they averaged only 20.7 points and 357 yards per game while 2014 saw the numbers improve to 31.9 points and 406 yards per game. Brandon Allen is back after throwing for 2,285 yards with 20 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, but the focus will be on the running game. There are four starters back on the offensive line to pave the way for the Alex Collins. Collins had 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground in 2014, which was second the team. The top rusher was Jonathan Williams, who had 1,190 yards and 12 touchdowns, but will miss all of 2015 due to surgery on his foot. The top two receivers are back in Keon Hatcher (43 catches for 558 yards and 6 touchdowns) and Hunter Henry (37 catches for 513 yards and 2 touchdowns). If a viable second back can be developed behind Collins, the Arkansas offense could be really dangerous, but at the least they should be able to match year’s numbers.

The defense took a major step forward in 2014 when compared to 2013. In 2013, the defense gave up 30.8 points and 413 yards per game while the numbers plummeted to 19.2 points and 323 yards per game last year. There will be six starters back with two on the line in JaMichael Winston (26 tackles) and Taiwan Johnson (26 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 3.5 tackles for loss). The line gave up only 115 yards rushing per game and 3.5 yards per carry. The linebackers will have only Brooks Ellis back, but he was second the team in tackles with 72 while also recording 5 tackles for loss, 5 pass breakups, and 2 interceptions. The secondary returns mostly intact with three starters back with the trio of Jared Collins (53 tackles and 13 pass breakups), DJ Dean (29 tackles, 5 pass breakups, and 2 interceptions), and Rohan Gaines (59 tackles, 5 pass breakups, and 1 interception). The defense should be stout again in 2015.

Arkansas opens the season with games against UTEP, Toledo, and Texas Tech with all those games in the state of Arkansas. They also face Tennesssee-Martin at home in October. They will face Texas A&M in Arlington as well as Alabama, Ole Miss, and LSU on the road. They will play at home against Auburn and Mississippi State and take on Tennessee (road) and Missouri (home) from the East. Arkansas’ games against Alabama and LSU both fall on the road, but they are dangerous team in the West.

5. Auburn Tigers

Auburn won the BCS National Championship in 2010, but quickly fell to 8-5 in 2011 and then 3-9 in 2012. 2013 saw Gus Malzahn come in and nearly win another National Championship for Auburn, but they lose to Florida State in the BCS Championship 34-31. They went to 8-5 last year and are hoping to bounce back to another double digit win season in 2015.

The offense has only four starters back from a group that put up 35.5 points and 485 yards per game in 2014. Of course, Gus Malzahn is known for his offenses and he will have Jeremy Johnson slinging the ball around. Johnson threw for 436 yards and 3 touchdowns while starting the first half of the opener against Arkansas. He will have three of the top five receivers from 2014 led by Duke Williams, who had 45 catches for 730 yards and 5 touchdowns. Also back are Ricardo Louis (21 catches for 261 yards and 3 touchdowns) and Melvin Ray (8 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown). The top running back in 2014 was Cameron Artis-Payne (1,608 yards and 13 touchdowns), but he has moved on to the NFL. He will be replaced by Jovon Robinson and Roc Thomas (214 yards and 2 touchdowns). There are three starters back on the offensive line to give Johnson some time as well as create lanes for Robinson and Thomas. The offense will be just fine in 2015 despite only four starters back.

The defense will have eight starters back from a unit that allowed 26.7 points and 399 yards per game. The defensive line will have DaVonte Lambert (24 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 3.5 tackles for loss) and Montravius Adams (43 tackles, 3 sacks, and 5 tackles for loss) back. The Buck position will be handled by Carl Lawson (out for 2014) and Gimel President (30 tackles, 1 sack, and 4 tackles for loss). At linebacker, the duo of Cassanova McKinzy (91 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 9.5 tackles for loss) and Kris Frost (87 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 6.5 tackles for loss) returning. The secondary will have three starters returning led by Johnathan Ford, who had 93 tackles and 3 interceptions last year. Also returning is Jonathan Jones, who was a ball hawk in 2014 with 11 pass breakups and 6 interceptions to go along with 36 tackles. The defense should be very solid in 2015.

Auburn opens the season with a neutral site game in Atlanta, Georgia against Louisville. They will also face Jacksonville State, San José State, and Idaho at home for their other non-conference games. Auburn will have to play LSU, Arkansas, and Texas A&M on the road while taking on Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Alabama at home. From the East, the Tigers play Kentucky (road) and Georgia (home). While it is hard to pick the Tigers this low, they are not without a chance to win the West.

6. Texas A&M Aggies

Kevin Sumlin came to Texas A&M in 2012 with two things against him: his first year in charge and the Aggies’ first year in the SEC. He did quite well by going 11-2 overall including the marvelous 29-24 upset of #1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. 2013 saw them slip slightly to 9-4 while they went 8-5 in 2014. 2015 will be Sumlin’s fourth year and he has some serious quarterback prospects in his stable.

The offense was a bit underwhelming in 2014 by Sumlin’s standards. They averaged 35.2 points and 455 yards per game, which is great for most teams, but it was nearly 10 points and 100 yards per game than in 2013. Kyle Allen will be at quarterback after getting some playing time in 2014 when he threw for 1,322 yards with 16 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He will be throwing to Josh Reynolds (52 catches for 842 yards and 13 touchdowns), Speedy Noil (46 catches for 583 yards and 5 touchdowns), Ricky Seals-Jones (49 catches for 465 yards and 4 touchdowns), and Edward Pope (30 catches for 454 yards and 4 touchdowns). Tra Carson was the top running back in 2014 with 581 yards and 5 touchdowns and returns alongside Brandon Williams (379 yards and 3 touchdowns). Three starters are back on the offensive line and the numbers should go up for the offense in 2015.

The defense will have eight starters back in 2015 from a group that allowed 28.1 points and 451 yards per game. The trio of Daeshon Hall (29 tackles and 4.5 sacks), Hardreck Walker (35 tackles), and Alonzo Williams (57 tackles and 4.5 sacks) will be returning on the line. The linebackers were hit hard, but the hybrid spot, Rush, will be manned by Myles Garrett, who had 53 tackles and 11.5 sacks. Only Shaan Washington returns at one of the traditional linebacker spots after recording 64 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 tackles for loss last year. The secondary has De’Vante Harris (53 tackles and 1 interception) and Armani Watts (59 tackles, 8 pass breakups, and 3 interceptions) back. It is hard to imagine the defense not improving in 2015 with the amount of experience returning.

Texas A&M opens the year with Arizona State in Houston, Texas. After that, they will play Ball State, Nevada, and Western Carolina at home in their non-conference schedule. In division, they have to take on Arkansas in Arlington, Texas before playing Mississippi State, Alabama, and Auburn at home. They will play both Ole Miss and LSU on the road. From the East, they have the duo of South Carolina (home) and Vanderbilt (road) in two winnable games. The Aggies are immensely talented and will have a better offense, which makes it tough to put them this low. They do have a chance to make noise in the West and make the SEC Championship game.

7. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Dan Mullen has been pretty consistent since taking over Mississippi State in 2009. They went 5-7 in that first year, but have made five straight bowl games since then and have also had a winning season each year since 2010. 2014 was nearly a magical season for MSU, as they opened 9-0 before losing three of their last four games. Their two regular season losses were on the road to Alabama and Ole Miss and were then walloped in the Orange Bowl, 49-34. 2015 looks like a rough year with only seven total starters returning.

The offense will have four starters back from a group that put up 36.9 points and 514 yards per game in 2014. The good news is that quarterback Dak Prescott is one of those returning after throwing for 3,449 yards with 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while also rushing for 986 yards and 14 touchdowns. Prescott will be leaned on heavily all season with the top returning running backs in Brandon Holloway (294 yards and 1 touchdown) and Ashton Shumpert (274 yards and 2 touchdowns). The top two receivers also return with De’Runnya Wilson (47 catches for 680 yards and 9 touchdowns) and Fred Ross (30 catches for 489 yards and 5 touchdowns) leading the way. There will be only two starters back on the line as well. Despite just four starters returning, they are in a good spot with the quarterback and top two receivers back, but it will be tough for them to match last year’s output.

The defense has only three starters back from a unit that allowed 21.7 points and 424 yards per game. Ryan Brown is the lone returning starter on the line after recording 39 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 3.5 tackles for loss. He will be joined by Chris Jones (26 tackles and 3 sacks) and AJ Jefferson (28 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 4.5 tackles for loss). At linebacker, Beniquez Brown is back after recording 62 tackles (#2 on team) along with 2 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, and 2 interceptions. Richie Brown saw playing time in every game in 2014 and recorded 50 tackles and 3 interceptions as well. The secondary has just Taveze Calhoun (53 tackles, 9 pass breakups, and 1 interception) back at starter, but Will Redmond had a solid year as well with 51 tackles, 5 pass breakups, and 3 interceptions. It will be hard for the Bulldogs to have as good a year as they did in 2014 on the defensive side of the ball.

MSU will have Southern Miss on the road to start their non-conference slate, but finish up with Northwestern State, Troy, and Louisiana Tech at home. In conference, they will play Auburn, Texas A&M, and Arkansas on the road while taking on LSU, Alabama, and Ole Miss at home. From the East, they will play both Kentucky (home) and Missouri (road). In a very deep SEC West, it is tough to put the Bulldogs down here with Dak Prescott returning as well as Dan Mullen at the helm. At the very worst, MSU should be back in a bowl game for 2015, but can cause some serious problems for the other teams in the West.


How difficult is it to predict the SEC West? All seven teams made a bowl game in 2014 and all seven teams have a legit chance at winning the division this year. If you are a fan of one of the teams picked at the bottom, do not fret because this was the hardest preview to write given the quality and depth of all the teams. The predicted order of finish below is sure to be wrong, but that is a testament to the SEC West.

1. LSU

2. Alabama

3. Mississippi

4. Arkansas

5. Auburn

6. Texas A&M

7. Mississippi State

SEC Championship

For the SEC Championship, we had Tennessee winning the SEC East to set up a contest against LSU, the winner of the SEC West. If that were to be the SEC Championship, we will go with LSU to capture yet another for the West Division, which would be the 7th straight against the East.

That concludes the 2015 College Football Preview here at Sports Enthusiasts. Be sure to check back for more news and information regarding all the divisions in College Football, but also for standings and schedules.

2015 Women’s College World Series: Day 4 Wrap Up

2015 Women's College World Series Logo (NCAA.com)
2015 Women’s College World Series Logo (NCAA.com)

2015 Women’s College World Series: Day 4 Wrap Up

Sunday was another exciting day of games at the 2015 Women’s Womenp’s College World Series. The 2015 NCAA Division I Softball Tournament Championship Series is now set after the two semifinal games.

Recaps for the Women’s College World Series on Thursday can be found here, Friday can be found here, and Saturday’s here. The schedule for the Championship Series can be found here.

#4 Auburn Versus #1 Florida – Game 11 Recap

A walk off single by the Florida Gators’ Nicole DeWitt in the bottom of the ninth defeated the Auburn Tigers 3-2. It was a great game between the top two SEC teams that eliminated Auburn.

The first pitch of the game hit Emily Carosone in the elbow to put her on base, but she was thrown out at second two batters later on a fielder’s choice. Carlee Wallace drew a walk to put runners on first and second, but Florida’s Kathlyn Medina made a nice jumping grab at shortstop to end the top of the first.

Florida’s Kelsey Stewart hit a lead off double to the left field gap and barely slid in to second in front of the tag. After a pop out to short right field, Stewart tagged up to third and a nice defensive back up prevented Stewart from scoring on a poor throw. She would not make it home as a ground out to third and pop out in foul territory ended the Gators’ inning.

The top of the second began with a lead off walk for Morgan Estell. A pop out, error by Medina at shortstop, and an error by Taylore Fuller loaded the bases for Auburn. Carosone then lined out to center and Kirsti Merritt threw home to get Estell with a great tag applied by Aubree Munro. That double play ended the frame with the game still scoreless.

In the bottom of the second, Florida’s Bailey Castro was hit by a pitch with one out, but Kayli Kvistad grounded into a double play to end the inning, as the excellent defensive plays continued for both teams.

Kasey Cooper led off the top of the third with a double over the left fielder’s head and she moved up to third after two ground outs. Haley Fagan drew a two out walk to put runners on the corners, but a fly out to center ended another threat for Auburn.

Florida had a chance as well in the bottom of the third. A one out single up the middle by Justine McLean was followed by a wild pitch, walk, fly out, and another walk to load the bases with two outs. A wild pitch allowed McLean to steal home though she just beat the tag to give the Gators a 1-0 lead. A foul out ended the third inning with the first run across the plate.

Auburn had a chance to respond in the top of the fourth. Both Jade Rhodes and Mckenzie Kilpatrick singled up the middle to start the inning before a strike out by Tiffany Howard. Another walk to by Haeger, this time to Carosone, loaded the bases with only one out for Auburn. After a strike out, Branndi Melero hit a single up the middle to bring home Rhodes and Victoria Draper to give Auburn a 2-1 lead. Wallace then hit a flare single to center field, but Merritt threw out a second Auburn runner at home in Carosone to keep the game at 2-1 after the top of the fourth.

The Gators wasted no time to tie the game. On a full count, Taylore Fuller hit a laser over the left field wall to lead off the inning to make it a 2-2 game. Castro then lined out on a beautiful snag by Kasey Cooper at third. The Gators put runners on first and second following the line out, but could not reclaim the lead. After four innings, it was all tied at two apiece.

Auburn began the sixth with a lead off single from Howard, but a fly out and two ground outs kept one runner stranded on base. The Gators got a one out walk from Bailey Castro, but a double play ended their chance in the bottom of the sixth as well. The game went to the seventh tied at two apiece.

Auburn had a rally in the top of the seventh. A one out double by Haley Fagan hit the left line, but a ground out on the next play really hurt Auburn’s chances to score. A strike out by Rhodes ended the inning for Auburn and put Florida in position to win in the bottom of the seventh.

Florida started the bottom of the seventh with a lead off walk by Aubree Munro after a nine pitch at bat. She was pinch ran for with Chelsea Herndon and Auburn’s Lexi Davis came out of the circle for Rachael Walters. McLean sacrificed Herndon to second with a bunt and only one out. Kelsey Stewart struck out and the Tigers opted to bring Davis back in. The Gators opted to pinch hit for Nicole DeWitt for Briana Little. Little flew out for the final out and Auburn was in another extra inning game.

Tiffany Howard singled to left field between third and short with one out to start another rally. However, a foul out to third and line out to right field stranded Howard to give Florida another chance for a walk off.

Lauren Haeger led off the bottom of the eighth with a four pitch walk to represent the winning run. Francesca Martinez came in to pinch run for Haeger after the walk. Kirsti Merritt, a defensive hero twice earlier in the game, flew out to center field for the first out. Fuller hit a rope to left field that was just foul and she then walked two pitches later. Castro also drew a walk to load the bases with Kayli Kvistad at the plate. Kvistad hit a rope to center that was caught and Morgan Estell threw home to nail Martinez at the plate to keep the game going.

Wallace hit a one out single to center field in the top of the ninth to get another Auburn rally started. After a strike out, Estell hit a single to shortstop that could not get Estell in time to put runners on first and second with two outs. Haeger came back to strike out Rhodes to move the game to the bottom of the ninth still tied at 2.

After two pitches in the bottom of the ninth, Lexi Davis was removed in favor of Marcy Harper. Munro was able to draw a lead off walk to get a Florida rally underway. McLean tried to sacrifice, but Munro was thrown out at second while McLean reached first. A wild pitch allowed McLean to reach second, but Stewart popped out to short for the second out. DeWitt replaced Briana Little and it paid off with a bloop single to left field that scored McLean for the 3-2 win.

Florida Moves on to the Women’s College World Series Championship Series for the fourth time in the last seven years. They will face either LSU or Michigan on Monday night.

#5 LSU Versus #3 Michigan – Game 12 Recap

The Michigan Wolverines came back from a two run deficit against LSU to win 6-3 on Sunday. They will move to the Championship Series to face the Florida Gators.

LSU was able to get on the board first in the top of the second inning. A one out walk drawn by Kellsi Kloss was followed up with a single by Sandra Simmons to put runners on the corners. Constance Quinn then hit a sacrifice fly to center field to put LSU up 1-0. Simmons stole second and then advanced to third on a wild pitch while Sydney Bourg was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners again. The Wolverines got a strike out to end the inning and limit the damage to just one run.

Michigan had a rally of their own in the bottom of the second, but it did not result in any runs scored. Kelsey Susalla drew a lead off walk in four pitches, Lauren Sweet reached on a ground out, and Lindsay Montemarano put runners on first and second with one out. A pop out to second base was followed up with a wild pitch and walk to load the bases. Abby Ramirez flied out to left to leave the bases loaded and LSU leading 1-0 after two innings.

LSU was able to start a two out rally in the top of the third. Bianka Bell reached on an error by Sierra Romero at second while Sahvanna Jaquish was hit by a pitch two put runners on first and second. The side was retired on a grounder down the first base line to keep the game at a one run gap.

The Wolverines were able to tie the game in the bottom of the second. Sierra Romero took a two-two pitch to left field and it hit off the left field foul pole to tie the game at one apiece. The next two Michigan batters went down in order and the third inning ended with the score at 1-1.

LSU’s Sandra Simmons started the fourth inning off with a lead off bunt single and used her speed to beat the throw. A strike out by Quinn allowed Simmons to steal second. Bourg then hit a single to center field and advanced to second to put runners on second and third with only one out. A.J. Andrews was able to draw a walk to load the bases, which brought up Bailey Landry.

Landry hit an opposite field double to left field to drive home two runs and give LSU a 3-1 lead. Megan Betsa came out for Michigan while Haylie Wagner took over in the circle. Wagner was able to strike out Bell, but the damage was already done. Michigan trailed 3-1 going into the bottom of the fourth.

The Wolverines were able to tie the game up again in the bottom of the fourth. Montemarano hit a one out double and scored two batters later with a single to center field by Tera Blanco that one-hopped into Andrews’ glove. Ramirez hit a single to center while Nikki Wald pinch ran for Blanco. Wald then stole second and a poor throw to third allowed her to score to tie the game at three. Ramirez stole second and Sierra Lawrence walked to bring up Romero. She hit a sharp grounder to first to end the inning with the game knotted at three.

Despite a lead off single by Jaquish, LSU was unable to get a runner beyond first with Wagner striking out the last two batters of the inning. Michigan went down one, two, three in the bottom of the fifth.

LSU had another base runner on base after a two out single by Andrews. Landry came up and strike out to finish the inning, but for good measure the Wolverines also threw Andrews out at second as she tried to steal second.

Michigan was able to take their first lead in the bottom of the sixth. Montemarano drew a lead off walk and after a fielder’s choice, Blanco singled to left field. A bloop single by Ramirez in between the center fielder, shortstop, and second loaded the bases. Sierra Lawrence stepped up and hit the first pitch she saw down the left field line to bring home two runners for a 5-3 lead.

Carley Hoover was replaced by Allie Walljasper in the pitching circle. Romero hit a grounder shortstop that was thrown home to get Ramirez at the plate. Runners were on the corners with two outs when Romero tried to steal second. She appeared to be in a run down, but Lawrence on third decided to try her luck as well and the LSU fielder tripped, which allowed both runners to be safe for a 6-3 Michigan lead after six innings.

Bianka Bell drew a lead off walk for LSU but was thrown out at second on a ground out. Jaquish was then thrown out at second on another ground ball to put LSU down to their final out with Kailey McCasland at first. A ground out back to Wagner ended the game for LSU.

Haylie Wagner’s performance after replacing Megan Betsa in the top of the fourth was key. Wagner threw 3 1/3 innings while giving up only two hits, one walk, and striking out five batters.

Michigan will take on the Florida Gators in the Championship Series starting on Monday. The best of three series will conclude on Tuesday or Wednesday depending on the winning team in the first two games.

2015 Women’s College World Series: Day 3 Wrap Up

2015 Women's College World Series Logo (NCAA.com)
2015 Women’s College World Series Logo (NCAA.com)

2015 Women’s College World Series: Day 3 Wrap Up

Elimination Saturday comprised four games that would cut the field in a half from eight teams to four teams. It was an exciting day that sets up Sunday to determine the two teams that will contest the Championship Series starting on Monday.

An updated schedule of games can be found here while recaps of the games on Thursday are here and Friday are here.

#8 Tennessee Versus #4 Auburn – Game 7 Recap

A close game between SEC foes Tennessee and Auburn saw the Tigers come out on top with a 4-2 win. Auburn will be back on the field again on Saturday needing to win a second game to stave off elimination.

Auburn started a two out rally with a walk drawn by Kasey Cooper and single to left field by Branndi Melero, but a ground out ended the rally in the top of the first.

The Volunteers also had a two out rally of their own in the bottom of the first. A single past the shortstop by Megan Geer was followed by a single from Annie Aldrete to put runners on the corners. A pop out in shallow left field also left Tennessee without any runs.

The top of the second produced an even better chance for Auburn. Haley Fagan led off with a single and Carlee Wallace did the same. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners up to second and third, but like the first inning, the Tigers could not capitalize.

Tennessee also had a great opportunity to put up the first runs of the game. A one out double by Rainey Gaffin was followed up with a walk and single to load the bases. A line out by Meghan Gregg to short allowed a double play to occur as Tory Lewis was too far off the base and thrown out at first. After two innings, the game was still scoreless.

The top of the third was a similar story for Auburn, but a different ending this time. Cooper drew a one out walk and moved up to second on a ground out by Melero. Morgan Estell hit an infield single and then stole second to put runners on second and third. A little dribbler off the end of the bat by Fagan was perfectly placed with the infield back and the Tigers took a 1-0 lead.

The Tigers continue to build their lead with a double by Wallace to the right center field wall to clear the bases. At this point, Tennessee’s Erin Gabriel was removed from the pitching circle for Cheyanne Tarango with Auburn leading 3-0. Auburn added another run with Jade Rhodes hitting a pop fly down the left field line that could not be caught by Shaliyah Geathers despite it being in her glove. Wallace scored to make it 4-0, which is the lead the Tigers took after the top of the third.

Tennessee was finally able to put their first run on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Scarlet McSwain started with a lead off single while a ground out two batters later saw he thrown out at second, but Gaffin reach base. Geathers then hit a double that reached the left center field wall to bring home Gaffin while the Vols trailed 4-1 after four innings.

The Tigers had a chance to rebuild their lead to four runs with runners on first and second with two outs, but the Volunteers did not give up a run by forcing a ground out to end the threat.

The Vols had a chance to cut into their deficit in the bottom of the fifth and did so. Gregg reached on a funky hop over the pitcher’s glove while Lexi Overstreet singled to right field. Geer hit into a double play with a line out to right field while Overstreet was doubled up at first on an overzealous base running trip. A single by Aldrete and hit by pitch from McSwain loaded the bases with two outs.

After going to a full count, Tarango was able to hit an opposite field single to right field to score Gregg to make it a 4-2 game. Auburn decided to replace Lexi Davis in the circle with Rachael Walters who was able to get the last out of the inning with a fly out to left field by Gaffin.

A formful sixth inning set up a tense finish between the Tigers and Volunteers in the bottom of the seventh with Auburn holding a 4-2 lead. Overstreet struck out to start the bottom half of the inning while an error by at second base by Emily Carosone allowed Megan Geer to reach first base. It was just the third error by Carosone all season.

Walters was able to get Aldrete to chase a rise ball for a strike out and out number two. Walters then struck out McSwain to end the game and keep Auburn alive. Tennessee was eliminated with the loss.

The win against Tennessee was Auburn’s first Women’s College World Series win in program history. They will be back on the field again on Saturday with a game against UCLA at 7 PM Eastern Time.

#6 Alabama Versus #2 Oregon – Game 8 Recap

The Alabama Crimson Tide survived to play another game on Saturday with a tight 2-1 victory over Oregon. Alexis Osorio threw a complete game three hitter for the Tide.

In the bottom of the first, Alabama got a one out walk from Haylie McCleney and she then stole second. A strike out by Jadyn Spencer and deep fly out to the warning track by Chaunsey Bell left McCleney stranded.

The Tide were in better position to score in the bottom of the second. A one out single by Danae Hays was followed by a double off the right center field wall from Daniell Richard, however, the runners were stopped at second and third. Cheridan Hawkins struck out Leona Lafaele, but a flare single into right field by Chandler Dare brought home both runners for a 2-0 Alabama lead after two innings.

Oregon was able to cut the deficit in half to 2-1 in the top of the third inning. Lauren Lindvall drew a one out walk while a ground ball moved her up to second. A single from Janie Takeda drove Lindvall home for a 2-1 game after two and a half innings of play.

The Ducks had a chance in the top of the fourth to tie the game. Jenna Lilley started with single to right center field and she was sacrificed to second by Hailey Decker. A strike out, walk, and hit by pitch loaded the bases for Oregon with two down, however, Lindvall grounded out to second to end the inning.

Oregon’s Janie Takeda bunted to reach base in the top of the fifth, but was thrown out trying to steal second and the Ducks could not continue the rally. In the bottom of the fifth, Dare had a one out double over the right fielder to put Alabama in position to score a crucial insurance run. Dare would be run down after a ground ball back to Hawkins while Demi Turner was able to get all the way to second. After intentionally walking McCleney to put runners on first and second, Hawkins was able to strike out Jadyn Spencer to keep the game at 2-1 in favor of Alabama.

Both teams went down in order in the sixth inning to set the stage for a last chance in the top of the seventh for Oregon. The Ducks would provide an anticlimactic finish with a pop out and two strikeouts to end the game.

Alexis Osorio ended up going the distance giving up only one run, three hits, and two walks, but struck out nine Oregon batters in the win.

Oregon has been eliminated from the Women’s College World Series while Alabama will play LSU on Saturday night after UCLA versus Auburn.

#7 UCLA Versus #4 Auburn – Game 9 Recap

The game of the tournament thus far was wild from start to finish. Both teams had plenty of action while UCLA blew a five run lead in the third inning and Auburn blew a two run lead in the top of the seventh. In the end, Auburn won 11-10 on a walk off walk of all plays. (The box score is worth checking out and is linked at the end of the previous sentence).

UCLA’s top of the first began with a hard hit to right center field by Delaney Spaulding that went to the warning track, but the ball was caught. After a bunt out, Ally Carda hit a soft single to right center field while Stephany LaRosa hit a two out double to right field to put runners on second and third. A check swing by Mysha Sataraka led to a Carda being thrown out at home to keep the game scoreless after half an inning.

The bottom of the first gave Auburn a chance to take the lead with a two out rally. Back-to-back walks ended up not leading to anything more as a fly out ended the first inning with no score in the game.

In the top of the second, UCLA was able to get runners on first and second with one out after an error by Auburn’s Kasey Cooper and a single to shortstop. Once again, the Bruins could not take advantage as a foul out and ground out ended the top of the second.

The Bruins finally got on the board in the top of the third. A lead off walk by Allexis Bennett turned into a runner on second after she stole second easily. Another walk drawn by Carda and a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up to second and third with only one out. Another walk to Sataraka loaded the bases while Auburn elected to take Lexi Davis out of the circle in favor of Rachael Walters.

The first pitch to Gabrielle Maurice was crushed into the right center field gap for a bases clearing triple and a 3-0 UCLA lead. After another walk, a bunt by Gracie Goulder was fielded and thrown back to home to get Maurice at the plate to keep it a 3-0 game. The Bruins added a fourth run with a single to right center by Kylee Perez that scored Maddy Jelenicki. The Tigers then made another pitching change with Marcy Harper coming in for Walters. One more run scored after a double steal of second and home (to go along with a blown call at second on the steal) to make it a 5-0 game after the top of the third.

Auburn’s offense responded in the bottom of the third. A walk by Jenna Abbott and back-to-back singles from Tiffany Howard and Emily Carosone loaded the bases with no outs for the Tigers. Kasey Cooper drew a walk to bring home one run while Branndi Melero single to right field to make it a 5-2 UCLA. At this point, Ally Carda was taken out with Selina Ta’amilo stepping into the pitching circle.

The first pitch by Ta’amilo was a wild pitch that allowed Carosone to score and the two runners to move up to second and third. The bases were loaded again after a four pitch walk to Morgan Estell with still no outs on the board. After a force out at home, Carlee Wallace cleared the bases with a double to left center field to give Auburn a 6-5 lead and still only one out in the bottom of the third.

Ally Carda then re-entered the game after the double and her second pitch was well over the catcher’s head to move Wallace to third base. Wallace was thrown out at third on a ground ball from Jadyn Rhodes. Carda and UCLA finally got out of the third inning, but blew a five run lead and trailed 6-5.

The Bruins were able to tie the game in the top of the fourth. A fielding error and bunt single followed a wild pitch put runners on second and third with one out. Sataraka hit a fly ball to left field that scored Bennett to knot the game up at six while Jelenicki flied out to end the inning.

Auburn would reclaim the lead in the bottom of the fourth. A single by Emily Carosone and walk by Kasey Cooper set up Branddi Melero, who drilled a line drive over the left center field wall for a three run shot and a 9-6 lead.

The Bruins continued to battle in the top of the fifth. A lead off single from Gabrielle Goulder was followed up with an infield single by Kylee Perez to put runners on with no outs. A single from Delaney Spaulding to right field scored Goulder as she slid into home to make it a 9-7 Auburn lead. Both runners also moved up to second and third with no outs on the board.

Bennett struck out looking before Ally Carda drew a walk to load the bases. A foul out behind home plate from Stephany LaRosa and a nice jumping catch by Auburn’s Kasey Cooper at third kept the game at 9-7 after the top of the fifth.

The Bruins had a two out rally in the top of the sixth with a walk by Goulder and single up the middle by Perez. A grounder through the infield by Spaulding loaded the bases, but a pop out to left field by Allexis Bennett ended the bases loaded threat.

UCLA had one final chance in the top of the seventh and they made the most of it. Carda led off with a single and LaRosa singled back to the pitcher to put runners on first and second. A sacrifice moved them up one base before a ground out by Gabrielle Maurice scored Carda who slid around the tag to make it 9-8 with two down. Jelenicki came up and crushed a two run blast to left center for a shocking 10-9 lead in the top of the seventh.

The Tigers still had a chance to come back and tie or win. Haley Fagan started with a lead off single back up the middle and Carlee Wallace crushed a ball into the gap in left field to score Fagan to tie the game at ten while Wallace was at second with no outs. Wallace was replaced by Victoria Draper. Jade Rhodes sacrificed Draper to third to set up Jenna Abbott, but she grounded to third with Draper caught in a run down and thrown out at third. Abbott was also thrown out on the play going for second in a bizarre ending to the seventh inning.

In the top of the eighth, Perez led off with a single before a ground out and infield single from Bennett put runners on first and second with one out. Carda then flew out to center and LaRosa grounded straight to third base to set Auburn up with a chance to win the bottom of the inning.

Carosone was hit in the helmet by a pitch, but was okay and took first base with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A walk drawn by Melero put Morgan Estell in the batter’s box and she too was able to draw a walk to load the bases with two outs. Haley Fagan hit a deep shot to right field, but it was on the warning track for the third out of the inning and the two teams continued to play into the ninth inning.

UCLA had another scoring chance in the top of the ninth. Gabrielle hit a one out double to left center field past the diving left fielder and she advanced to third on a passed ball. However, Jelenicki struck out and Goulder grounded out to first to keep the game at 10 apiece heading into the bottom of the ninth.

Auburn’s Wallace drew a lead off walk, but was thrown out at second on a fielder’s choice. Strikeouts by Abbott and Howard sent the game into a tenth inning.

Auburn had yet another chance to end the game in the bottom of the tenth. Carosone was walked on four pitches while Cooper singled to center field to put runners on first and second with no outs. Melero then flared a single to left field to load the bases, which brought up Morgan Estell. Estell drew a walk to give the Auburn Tigers the walk off win by a score of 11-10.

UCLA has been eliminated from the 2015 Women’s College World Series and Auburn will face the Florida Gators on Sunday at 1 PM Eastern. Auburn will need to defeat Florida twice on Sunday to reach the Championship Series.

#6 Alabama Versus #5 LSU – Game 10 Recap

The LSU Tigers held on for a 5-3 victory over rival Alabama on late Saturday evening and early Sunday morning. The Tigers have moved on to the semifinals of the Women’s College World Series with the victory.

Alabama got on the board in the top of the first. Demi Turner drew a lead off walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. She later advanced to third on a ground out and was able to score on a single to right field by Marisa Runyon. After the top of the first, Alabama held a 1-0 lead.

LSU answered back in the bottom of the first. LSU had a runner on first after a single by Bailey Landry. She later stole second base with two outs and scored after a rope single to center field by Sahvanna Jaquish. Kellsi Kloss came up and hit a single between the left fielder, center fielder, and shortstop that scored Jaquish. However, Kloss was able to move to second and then scored after a bad throw to second base to make it a 3-1 LSU lead after the first inning.

Alabama’s defensive problems continued in the bottom of the second. After Constance Quinn drew a lead off walk, she was able to advance to second after a bunt. A single by Emily Griggs was not fielded properly, but no error was charged to put runners on the corners with one out. A ground out by A.J. Andrews to first base allowed Griggs to move to second and Landry hit a two run single past the second baseman to bring the score up to 5-1 after two innings.

The third and fourth innings were mostly uneventful. LSU got a lead off walk from Quinn, which led to Alabama’s Sydney Littlejohn being replaced by Leslie Jury as pitcher. Quinn tried to steal second, but was thrown out and LSU held a 5-1 lead after four innings.

Alabama’s Andrea Hawkins reached first base after a fielding error at shortstop to start the top of the fifth. After back-to-back ground outs, Hawkins was on third, but could not be brought home after a fly out to right field ended the frame. LSU started with a lead off single from Andrews in the bottom of the fifth, but were set down in order after that.

The Tide put together an excellent rally to start the top of the sixth. An error allowed Jadyn Spencer to reach first and Runyon hit a single to center field to put the first two runners on with no outs. Runyon was taken off the base paths for Rachel Bobo. LSU’s Allie Walljasper induced two fly outs to left field from the next two batters and a pop out to short to get out of the jam unscathed.

LSU tried to put together a two out rally and increase the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Quinn hit a single up the middle while Dylan Supak drew a walk and was pinch ran for by Sydney Bourg. The Tigers would not be able to advance as Emily Griggs grounded out to third to end the inning. LSU led 5-1 heading to the top of the seventh.

Alabama’s last chance in the top of the seventh started with a ground ball by Hawkins and she was able to leg out an infield single. Chandler Dare had the same result for the Tide to put runners, which led to Walljasper coming out and Carlee Hoover entering to try and close the game out.

Hoover started with a strikeout of Demi Turner and a wild pitch allowed the runners to move up to second and third. Haylie McCleney drew a walk to load the bases while Jadyn Spencer hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Hawkins to make it a 5-2 deficit with two outs. Both runners also moved up to second and third while a wild pitch by Hoover allowed a run to score to make it 5-3, but Hoover forced a ground out to end the game.

Alabama has been eliminated while LSU will face Michigan on Sunday at 3:30 PM Eastern Time. LSU will need to win twice against Michigan on Sunday to make the Championship Series.