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Sports Brief: Nov. 19 – 27

CFB: OU beats WVU, Michigan falls

Week 13 answered many questions regarding conference championship games and the looming playoff picture.

The University of Oklahoma defeated West Virginia University in an offensive showdown 59-56 Friday night. Heisman candidate quarterback Kyler Murray passed for 364 yards and three touchdowns while adding to the run game, rushing for 114 yards for the Sooners. Mountaineers quarterback and Heisman contender Will Grier ran the offense for West Virginia, throwing for 539 yards and four touchdowns. With the win, Oklahoma will play the University of Texas—who is coming off a 24-17 win against Kansas on Saturday—in the Big 12 Championship game.

In the Big 10, the No. 4-ranked University of Michigan suffered a tough loss against conference rival No. 10 Ohio State University, losing 62-39 Saturday morning. Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins threw for 396 yards and six touchdowns, leading Ohio State to its largest point total since the birth of the rivalry. This loss will drop Michigan out of the top four, likely preventing them from reaching the college football playoffs.

In another revealing matchup, No. 16-ranked University of Washington upset in-state rival No. 8 Washington State University Friday night, beating the Cougars 28-15. The snowy conditions limited Washington State’s offense and what quarterback Gardner Minshew could do through the air. Huskies running back Myles Gaskin was able to take to the ground, running for 170 yards and three touchdowns.

Texas A&M University, in historic fashion, defeated Louisiana State University 74-72 Saturday, Nov. 24. Late in the fourth quarter, the Tigers led 31-24 and even dumped the iconic Gatorade jug onto head coach Ed Orgeron. The Aggies scored on a 19-yard touchdown pass as time expired to force the game into its first overtime and the two teams traded blows for seven additional overtimes following that. The game ended up as the highest scoring game in Football Bowl Subdivision history with 146 total points.

For additional analysis on bowl predictions, view the following link.

Golf: Tiger vs. Phil

The new-style, pay-per-view event featuring Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson was a unique adaptation of match play which, although not fundamentally crisp in broadcast or play, acted as a promising trial-run for prospective proceedings of a similar design.

The match, however, experienced some serious hiccups. Bleacher Report failed to effectively charge viewers for the event, allowing steaming to be free across the masses and other electronical issues were noted. Despite this, the contest itself managed to live up to the expectations.

Going into the 17th hole,  Mickelson held the lead and had the opportunity to close out the match if he won the hole. Woods took an aggressive approach on the Par 3, but it landed him on the fringe. Mickelson calmly dropped his tee-shot within 20-feet from the pin, intensifying the urgency for Woods. Tiger being Tiger, chipped in, which tied the match going into the 18th.

Despite Mickelson recovering from a bad tee-shot, Woods won the par 5, sending the two into playoff golf. On the 22nd hole, Woods’ tee-shot landed him within seven feet of the pin. He would miss his birdie chance and Mickelson capitalized, winning the trailblazing contest.

NBA: Thunder Update

The Oklahoma City Thunder lost Saturday to the Denver Nuggets, 105-98. Guard Russell Westbrook returned after a few weeks off due to a high ankle sprain and scored 16 points. The Thunder are currently 5th in the Western Conference at 12-7. They will play the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday, Nov. 28.

The Thunder are only one game back from first despite being fifth in the West. The Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies make up the top four spots. In the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors hold first, followed closely by the Milwaukee Bucks

CBB: No. 1 Duke falls

The hype around Duke University’s freshman class and their social media following grows by the day. With three projected top-five picks on the starting floor, the Blue Devils were a predicted winner of the 2018 Maui Invitational. No. 3-ranked Gonzaga met up with Duke in the championship game of the tournament last Wednesday, where the Zags’ pulled off the upset, winning 89-87.

Gonzaga forwards Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke  led the way, scoring a combined 37 points in the victory. Duke’s RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson scored 23 and 22 points, respectively. The Blue Devils had a late chance to score the game-tying basket but were unable to capitalize.

NFL: Chaotic AFC Playoff race

There are 11 teams in the hunt for the playoffs in the AFC. The Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos are all on the outside looking in and will need other teams to lose to achieve playoff contention.

With much of the AFC loosely locked in, either the Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts or the  Baltimore Ravens will likely take the sixth spot in the playoffs. Both the Titans and the Colts have had steady and consistent play, and Baltimore’s surge with quarterback Lamar  Jackson running the offense leaves the last playoff spot wide open.

Three of the last five spots contain the Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers, which are given a 90 percent FPI Playoff chance.

The New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs round out the playoff picture as locks and cannot mathematically be eliminated.

A comprehensive look at both the AFC and NFC can be found here.

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