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rossel3

is there a 165# Joe Colon out there?

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Or a 184# Zain Retherford?

 

One of the great things about wrestling is nothing is guaranteed. The improbable happens now and then. Steiber was thought to be a virtual lock at 141#, and he was beaten by a true fr. Ramos was a pretty strong favorite at 133#, and he got pinned in the first period.

 

Is there anyone out there, under the radar, who is capable of beating Taylor or Ruth?

 

It does seem like so many wrestle these two with a style that is designed to avoid a fall or TF, with no hope of winning. Would it be better to swing for the fences? Try to put Ruth in a cradle for instance?

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If the question is whether Taylor and Ruth are capable of being upset, the answer is, of course. As you say, anything can happen in wrestling, whether injury, illness or utter fluke.

 

But if the question is whether there might be someone out there lurking in the 165lb/184lb shadows who might secretly be better than Taylor/Ruth, as in able/likely to beat them consistently -- a "165/184lb Joe Colon" of sorts -- then the answer is almost definitely no. We'll know more at the end of the Scuffle though.

 

Taylor has the #2 and #3 guys in the opposite bracket. Caldwell is your strong favorite there, and Taylor whipped up on him pretty good last year, something like 10-0. I don't see anyone within reaching distance. The only freshman with an unbeaten streak is Bo Jordan, but he's redshirting and I doubt he'd avoid getting teched by Taylor anyway. If there were someone even close to Taylor's skill level out there, I think we'd know by now.

 

Ruth is more interesting in that he has Steinhaus, who is a proven commodity and who is, I think, the only guy in the country capable of giving him a match. Ruth won only 5-3 last time they met, and I wonder whether Ruth's recent off-the-mat drama means he is in less than top form. Steinhaus is coming off an injury himself, so he's probably not in top form either. An upset is possible here but unlikely, and either way I wouldn't bet against Ruth at NCAAs.

 

There's been some upsets in other weights this year to be sure, but I wouldn't read too much into it vis-a-vis Taylor/Ruth. Maple and Stieber were both unbeaten champs last year, but both did bump up a weight. Stieber's loss is more surprising, but there's been talk of an illness involved, and either way Retherford is an unbeaten (so far) former Cadet world champ who looks to be something special himself.

 

As for Ramos's loss to Colon, well, with due respect, Ramos is not quite in the same class as these other guys anyway. He was the top ranked 133lber, but he's never won NCAAs and only made the finals once, and already has a loss to Schopp this year. Taylor and Ruth are seniors who haven't lost since their freshman year, with the exeption of Taylor's losses to Dake.

 

Regarding the question whether it'd be better to "swing for the fences" -- sure it would, in a tournament setting. Closely-contested dual meets are more complicated, as coaches/wrestlers may see avoiding bonus as more attainable and benefical to pursue than the upset. But I suspect that the vast majority of guys that have lost to Taylor/Ruth would hotly dispute that they were just trying to avoid/minimize bonus. That's just how it seems to observers when a guy is that outmatched by an offensive juggernaut like those two. You try to get something going but just can't. These two are both something special, that's for sure.

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Can't see anyone beating Ruth. Taylor is just as likely to Tech Fall anyone left as anything else, but it is possible at least to stick him. Odds are very long against it, but if I were betting the only guy I could envision somehow managing the feat would be Sulzer, not Caldwell. This doesn't even mean Sulzer beats Caldwell. I just think he has a better shot at Taylor than Caldwell does.

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I think Sulzer is the best shot at beating Taylor. Not a knock against Caldwell who is tough as nails, but his offense has never really been there and Taylor seems to be able to shut down his defense rather easily. Sulzer has a nice double and looks strong as an ox so might have what it takes to hang with Taylor in neutral (if he can get in on his legs that is). I still don't see Taylor getting anything other than 1st this year though. Ruth could be dethroned but I would also be surprised if that were to happen.

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While Taylor would be the favorite in every match he wrestles, I don't think it's out of the question that Caldwell could beat him the same way Dake did-- control the ties, get one takedown and don't get tilted. (I believe that when Taylor won 10-0, eight points were on tilts.)

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Taylor and Ruth are seniors who haven't lost since their freshman year, with the exeption of Taylor's losses to Dake.

 

 

That's a funny way of saying that Taylor is 1 for 3 in the NCAA Finals.

That's a funny way of saying that Taylor is a 3 time NCAA finalist.

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