Your Weekend Sports Update
Alabama didn’t even play, but somehow wiggled into the fourth spot in the College Football Playoff committee’s final rankings released Sunday.
Alabama, No. 5 last week, moved up as Auburn, formerly No. 2, lost to Georgia in the SEC Championship game and No. 4 Wisconsin lost to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game. Clemson, which blew out Miami in the ACC title game, is No. 1 in the rankings ahead of Oklahoma, the Big 12 champion. Georgia is third, Bama fourth.
That sets up another Clemson-Alabama battle in the playoffs – the third in four years. Clemson won the national title last year, defeating Alabama with a touchdown on the final play of the game. The final four play on New Year’s Day.
The entire bowl lineup – from Alamo on down – was also set. Check those giant charts online or in your favorite newspaper to see where your team wound up.
NFL: The Minnesota Vikings (10-2) won their eighth straight game, beating the Atlanta Falcons 14-9 and not allowing the Falcons (7-5) a touchdown. The Vikings hold the top spot in the NFC playoff race after the Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) saw their nine-game winning streak end with a 24-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks (8-4).The New England Patriots (10-2) also won their eighth straight, wearing out the Buffalo Bills 23-3. The Bills are 6-6. The New Orleans Saints (9-3) took over sole possession of first place in the NFC South with their 31-21 win over the Carolina Panthers (8-4).
In streaks of a different order, the Cleveland Browns (0-12) lost for the 12th straight time (duh), falling 19-10 to the Los Angeles Chargers (6-6), who are in a three-way tie for first in the AFC West. The Denver Broncos (3-9) lost their eighth straight, absorbing a 35-9 pounding from the Miami Dolphins (5-7), who snapped a five-game losing streak.
GOLF: Tiger Woods finished ninth in his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in his first competitive golf rounds in 10 months following back surgery. Rickie Fowler won the event; Woods shot 68 in the final round and said, “I’m excited. This is the way I’ve been playing at home.”
ELSEWHERE: No. 1 UConn came from 11 down to defeat No. 3 Notre Dame and capture its 69th consecutive home victory. It was coach Geno Auriemma’s 998th career win and he’s two away from becoming the third women’s college basketball coach to reach 1,000 (Pat Summitt and Tara VanDerveer are the others).
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