CFB: OU beats Texas, CFB Playoffs are set
Championship weekend finalized the AP Poll, announcing the teams for both the college football playoffs and all of the bowl games.
In the Big 12 Championship game, quarterback Kyler Murray, the frontrunner to win the Heisman, led the University of Oklahoma past the University of Texas to a 39-27 win.
Murray continued to boast spectacular numbers, throwing for 379 yards and three touchdowns. Texas was struck by a series of penalties, which resulted in gifting the Sooners 128 yards. This lapse in discipline tied the Big 12 record and destroyed their late-game comeback attempt when cornerback Josh Thompson was called for holding on what would have been a 92-yard kick return. The drive resulted in an interception, cementing the Sooner win.
Opposite the Big 12, the SEC title game between the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia brought forth a sense of “poetic justice.” Heisman hopeful quarterback Tua Tagovailoa fell with an ankle injury when his own lineman appeared to step on his right foot. With 11 minutes remaining, Jalen Hurts, who was benched in the National Title game last season against the Bulldogs, came off the bench and led a seven-minute scoring drive tying the game. After a failed fake punt, Hurts scored on a 15-yard run up the middle to give Alabama the lead and eventual win 35-28.
The loss eliminated Georgia from the playoff ranks and opened the door for Oklahoma in the top four. No. 4-ranked Oklahoma will meet No.1-ranked Alabama in the Orange Bowl Dec. 29 at 7 p.m.
On the other side of the playoff bracket, No. 2 Clemson University will play the No. 3-ranked University of Notre Dame Dec. 29 at 3 p.m. in the Cotton Bowl.
Clemson completed an undefeated regular season after Saturday’s win over the University of Pittsburgh 42-10 in the ACC Championship game. Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for 118 yards and two touchdowns, proving he and the Tigers are playoff ready.
In the BCS National Championship Game, Notre Dame moved to 11-0 after they beat the University of Southern California 24-17. Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book threw for 352 yards and two touchdowns in the contest. Notre Dame was down early to the Trojans and experienced their only double-digit deficit of the year. The comeback demonstrated the group’s resilience and primed them for their playoff matchup against Clemson.
For a look beyond the college football playoffs into other bowl game matchups, click here.
NFL: Hunt released from Chiefs, Packers fire McCarthy
Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt has been released after footage of him physically assaulting a young woman surfaced on the internet. The Chiefs organization stated they were aware of the situation but Hunt was unclear on the magnitude of the situation. Because of his action, Hunt was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, meaning he cannot play or attend any games until the investigation has concluded. The Chiefs are currently sitting atop the AFC at 10-2.
In Green Bay, the Packers announced the firing of head coach Mike McCarthy with four games left in the season. McCarthy, in his 13th season, guided the Packers through a transitional time in 2008 when then-quarterback Brett Farve left the organization. McCarthy brought in Aaron Rodgers and the relationship between the two flourished after he led Green Bay to a 15-1 season and won his first MVP.
The Packers have consistently reached the playoffs but have fallen short on multiple occasions. In 2014, Green Bay lost the NFC Championship Game in Seattle against the Seahawks. They reached the postseason in both the 2015-16 campaigns but failed to make Super Bowl appearances in both years. Joe Philbin will act as the interim head coach for the conclusion of the season.
NBA: Steph returns, Hayward scores season high
After an 11-game absence, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is back in action. Curry sat on the injured list since Nov. 8 due to a groin strain. Curry showed the effects of his absence as he missed seven of his first 10 shots and had five turnovers early in the game. Despite his return, Golden State fell short to the Detroit Pistons Saturday losing 111-102.
In Minnesota, Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward scored 30 points to go along with nine rebounds and eight assists, demonstrating he may finally be back to who he was. Hayward experienced a gruesome injury, dislocating his left ankle and fracturing his left tibia in his Celtics debut last season. The Celtics are 13-10 and with Hayward’s aggressiveness, will likely start to climb the ranks in the Eastern Conference.
In Oklahoma City news, the Thunder are coming off of a win against the Atlanta Hawks 124-109. Despite the success and noteworthy improvement from deep, the Thunder experienced another injury setback as Andre Roberson landed awkwardly and experienced some pain in his left knee. The Thunder are now third in the Western Conference with a 14-7 record.
In Memphis, big man Jaren Jackson Jr. dropped a career-high 36 points in a 131-125 double-overtime win against the Brooklyn Nets. Jackson scored 11 of his team’s last 16 points, including a one-man 7-0 run in the final 33 seconds of regulation. His output put him in elite company as he joined LeBron James as the only teenager to score above 30 points in his rookie season.