Sports USA TODAY Sports midseason college football awards
Washington QB Alex Smith 'didn't want to scare the hell out of' Dak Prescott after Cowboys QB's ankle injury
Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith knows about significant lower-body injuries and said he didn't want to scare Dak Prescott.And even though Smith may be able to offer some guidance and consolation to Prescott, he said he's waiting a little bit before reaching out to Prescott.
Only in 2020 would college football's midseason hit as one Power Five conference has played a single game and another league is more than a week away from kickoff.
While the Big Ten just got started and the Pac-12 won't open until Nov. 7, the 2020 season began Sept. 5 and has heated up since the SEC opened on Sept. 26.
Despite the odd and mismatched schedules across Bowl Subdivision leagues, one aspect of the season has gone according to plan: Alabama and Clemson have carved out some distance from the rest of pack in the early College Football Playoff race.
Where could Le'Veon Bell land in a trade? 6 possible team fits for Jets RB
The Jets seemingly are ready to move on from Le'Veon Bell, but finding a taker for the running back might not be so easy.If you think you've heard Bell's name on the block before, well ... yep.
Also predictable? That Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence would head into Halloween as the favorite for the Heisman.
As we reach the midway point, here's a look at the players, teams, coaches and games that have defined the first half of the 2020 season.
Paul Myerberg: Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence. He's completing 70.7% of his attempts, averaging 9.6 yards per throw and avoiding turnovers (two interceptions in 191 throws) at a better rate than in 2019. This is an easy pick.
Erick Smith: Alabama QB Mac Jones. Any thought that the Crimson Tide offense would be slowed by the departure of Tua Tagovailoa can be discarded. It might actually be better with Jones off to an amazing start. The junior threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns against an elite Georgia defense in a comeback win. He ranks third in passing yards and passer efficiency.
Opinion: COVID-19 didn't defeat the Tennessee Titans, and neither has any NFL team yet
The Tennessee Titans were ready, and they had a blast after being sidelined for two weeks, rolling past a good opponent in the Buffalo Bills.Embarrassed, frustrated, angry, sad – you name it, the Titans were there.
Coach of the year
Paul Myerberg: Luke Fickell, Cincinnati. Fickell turned down the chance to take over at Michigan State in part because he knew what the No. 7 Bearcats were capable of achieving in 2020. Cincinnati already has two wins against Top 25 competition and have a shot at rising into the top four.
Erick Smith: Chris Klieman, Kansas State: With a roster devastated by COVID-19, the Wildcats lost their opener against Arkansas State. Two weeks later, they rallied to beat Oklahoma. That was the first of four Big 12 victories in a row. His next challenge will be overcoming the loss of starting quarterback Skylar Thompson and make the conference title game.
Paul Myerberg: Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. The senior has made splash plays for one of the nation's best defenses and a unit already being compared to some of the best in recent program history. He's second on the team with 21 tackles and leads with six tackles for loss.
No 'Thursday Night Football' NFL game for Week 6. Here's why.
The Bills were supposed to be hosting the Chiefs on "Thursday Night Football" for NFL Week 6, but COVID-related schedule changes pushed it to Monday.Except this week, there is no Josh Allen vs. Patrick Mahomes showdown on "Thursday Night Football.
Erick Smith: Arkansas LB Grant Morgan. The Razorbacks have been one of the stories of the season. Their former walk-on linebacker has spearheaded an improved defense with team-high 52 tackles in four games and added an interception.
Paul Myerberg: Clemson DT Bryan Bresee. The nation's top-ranked recruit has exceeded expectations. One of two five-star freshmen on Clemson's defensive front, Bresee is physically ready to earn all-conference honors and play a key role in the Tigers' push for the national championship.
Erick Smith: Kansas State RB Deuce Vaughn. Small in stature, Vaughn has been huge in his impact for the Wildcats, who are at the top of the Big 12 standings. He has totaled 319 yards and four touchdowns on the ground and 360 yards on 13 catches. A pair of his big plays helped rally the Wildcats on the road in their upset of Oklahoma.
Best first-year coach
Paul Myerberg: Sam Pittman, Arkansas and Greg Schiano, Rutgers. There are so many options beyond this pair: Missouri's Eli Drinkwitz, Boston College's Jeff Hafley and Texas-San Antonio's Jeff Traylor were also considered. But Arkansas is a surprising 2-2 (and probably should be 3-1) and it took only one game for Schiano to end Rutgers' long conference losing streak.
How to watch Rays vs. Astros: ALCS Game 6 live stream, schedule, TV channel, start time
The Tampa Bay rays lead the Houston Astros 3-2 in the 2020 ALCS, but the Astros have the momentum after two wins in a row.Carlos Correa hit a walk-off home run in the ninth inning of Game 5 to extend the series, a dramatic blast that has the Astros dreaming of pulling off an unbelievable comeback. Houston is just the fourth team in baseball history to force a Game 6 after trailing 3-0, but only one – the 2004 Boston Red Sox – managed to come all the way back to win a series.
Erick Smith: Sam Pittman, Arkansas. It's hard to overstate the impact that Pittman has in his first year with the Razorbacks. Even without a full offseason of practices, they led Georgia at halftime of their opener and snapped a 20-game losing streak in the SEC the following week. Only an incorrect referee decision stopped them from an upset at Auburn and 3-1 start.
Game of the year
Paul Myerberg: Indiana-Penn State is still fresh in our minds. The touchdown and two-point conversion to force overtime. Indiana scoring in the bottom of the first extra frame and opting to go for the win. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. scrambling to his left, diving and just breaking the plane of the end zone to give the Hoosiers a win against a top-10 opponent for the first time since 1987.
Erick Smith: Oklahoma-Texas is always going to be emotional. This year's edition, though, outdid itself. The Sooners looked to be on their way to a comfortable win midway through the fourth quarter. Then Sam Ehlinger rallied the Longhorns and forced overtime with two late scores. Momentum would swing in the four overtimes with each team seemingly on the brink of winning before Oklahoma intercepted Ehlinger to end things.
Paul Myerberg: The Sun Belt. The league beat three Big 12 teams in one weekend. One Sun Belt team, No. 21 Coastal Carolina, is currently in the Top 25, and another two, Louisiana and Appalachian State, have been ranked at some point this season. Always overlooked and ranked at the bottom of the Group of Five, the Sun Belt has been one of the best stories of the 2020 season.
New World Series, same problem: Dodgers' convoluted pitching plans backfire in Game 2 loss
Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin only 1.1 innings in Game 2, leaving six Los Angeles relievers responsible for getting 23 outs.So as casual viewers tuned into Game 2 of the World Series and saw a parade of pitchers head to the mound, only to get yanked, touched for a run or two here, slowly watching the game slip away and control of the series tilt back toward the Tampa Bay Rays, it was fair to wonder:
Erick Smith: Brigham Young. The Cougars have been dominant in six victories to start their season, putting them at No. 10 in the Amway Coaches Poll and in position to earn a spot in the New Year's Six. Junior quarterback Zach Wilson has gone from obscurity to dark horse Heisman candidate. Only Boise State and San Diego State appear capable of slowing BYU down.
Paul Myerberg: The Big 12. Did I mention the conference lost three games to the Sun Belt on a single Saturday? Oklahoma and Texas are already out, Iowa State has two losses, Baylor has taken a step back and the league is pinning almost all of its playoff hopes on No. 6 Oklahoma State. That was not expected.
Erick Smith: LSU. Yeah, the Tigers weren't going to be the same as last season's dominant title winners. But watching their defense implode in losses to Mississippi State and Missouri was startling. Perhaps last week's win against South Carolina gets them refocused. They appear a long way away from title contenders in the SEC West.
Best four teams
Paul Myerberg: Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame. The first three are easy. The fourth is more complicated. While Notre Dame wouldn't have been pick a week ago, last Saturday's 45-3 win against Pittsburgh showed the Irish at their best.
Erick Smith: Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia. You can argue about the order of the first three. Part of the issue with Clemson is whether it is being tested enough on a weekly basis. The last spot is up in the air for now. Georgia did lose to Alabama but led on the road for three quarters. Notre Dame and Cincinnati are worthy of consideration.
Simulated World Series: Dodgers stage epic comeback vs. Rays in Game 3 slugfest
In one of the highest-scoring World Series games in history, the Dodgers got the last word on Corey Seager's solo homer in extra innings for a 13-12 victory over the Rays.Game 3: Los Angeles Dodgers vs.
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Simulated World Series: Julio Urias untouchable as Dodgers push Rays to the brink .
Left-hander Julio Urias hurls a three-hit shutout and Corey Seager homers again as the Los Angeles Dodgers blank the Tampa Bay Rays to take a 3-1 Sim Series lead.Game 4: Los Angeles Dodgers vs.