A Sports Filled Weekend It Was
The College Football Playoff rankings changed only slightly after a spectacular weekend of conference championship games.
No. 1 Alabama (13-0), which smashed Florida 54-16 to win the SEC, will play No. 4 Washington (12-1), a 41-10 winner over Colorado for the Pac-12 title. No. 2 Clemson (12-1), a 42-35 victor over Virginia Tech for the ACC crown, plays No. 3 Ohio State (11-1), which failed to qualify for the Big Ten championship game. Both games are on New Year’s Eve.
Penn State, the only team to beat OSU, won the Big Ten title 38-31 with a thrilling comeback from a 28-7 deficit against Wisconsin. Penn State was ranked No. 5. Ohio State is the first team in this playoff system’s three-year history to make the final quartet without winning its conference.
Bowl games were also announced for the myriad teams involved in everything from the AutoNation Cure Bowl to the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl. Surely your favorite is in there somewhere or you need a new favorite.
The Dallas Cowboys became the first team to clinch a playoff berth, and how sweet it was because a loss by their archrivals, the Washington Redskins, put them in. The Redskins lost 31-23 to the Arizona Cardinals. … The Carolina Panthers did not start quarterback Cam Newton because of a dress-code violation. This was his first missed start not due to injury. Derek Anderson threw an interception on the first play and the Seattle Seahawks routed the Panthers 40-7. … The Oakland Raiders rode their biggest comeback in 16 years to a 38-24 win over the Buffalo Bills. The Raiders trailed 24-9 and (obviously) scored 29 unanswered points. … The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Atlanta Falcons 29-28 as safety Eric Berry returned an interception of a two-point conversion for (you guessed it) two points. He had earlier returned an interception for a touchdown.
Tiger Woods finished 15th in his first tournament in 15 months. A closing 76 was his worst round in the Hero World Challenge. He finished 14 strokes behind winner Hideki Matsuyama. … The NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder won their fifth straight game, beating the New Orleans Pelicans 101-92. Russell Westbrook had his fifth straight triple-double and owns 10 for the season, one shy of the rest of the league combined. … The NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers also won their fifth straight, topping the Nashville Predators 4-2. … Your new No. 1 in college basketball as of Monday will be Villanova, following Kentucky’s 97-92 home loss to UCLA on Saturday.