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Weekend In Review: NFL, College Football, More

Sports Exclusive For those who have no plans for New Year’s Eve, there’s outstanding college football on TV. And for those who have plans on New Year’s Eve, there’s...

Sports Exclusive

For those who have no plans for New Year’s Eve, there’s outstanding college football on TV. And for those who have plans on New Year’s Eve, there’s the competing lure of outstanding college football on TV.

The College Football Playoffs on Dec. 31 will match undefeated No. 1 Clemson (13-0) and No. 4 Oklahoma (11-1) in the Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, Fla., and No. 2 Alabama (12-1) against No. 3 Michigan State (12-1) in the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas. The national title will be decided Jan. 11.

Clemson v North Carolina

Iowa (12-1), which lost the Big Ten championship to Michigan State in the final minute of their game Saturday – a 16-13 decision – got the Rose Bowl bid as a consolation prize. The Hawkeyes will play Stanford (11-2), the Pac-12 champion.

Clemson won the ACC championship, beating North Carolina 45-37 and Alabama took the Southeastern Conference title with a 29-15 win over Florida.

NFL
Cam Newton

The Carolina Panthers extended their record to 12-0 and Cam Newton continued to build his case as the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in a wild 41-38 victory over the New Orleans Saints. The Panthers clinched the NFC South Division title for a third consecutive season. Newton threw five touchdown passes, the last with 65 seconds left, to secure the win.

The New England Patriots, who opened 10-0, were beaten for the second straight week, this time 35-28 by the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles, who had lost three in a row, scored on a 99-yard interception return by Malcolm Jenkins and a blocked punt return (Najee Goode).

Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers manhandled the Indianapolis Colts 45-10 on Sunday night. Brown caught eight passes for 118 yards and two TDs and returned a punt 71 yards for a touchdown. His legs-first embrace of the goalposts in the end zone may also have been an NFL first in celebratory excess.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Sports3

Syracuse and Georgetown were legendary rivals in the Big East Conference, but Syracuse’s departure for the ACC changed all of that. The two had not met since the Big East Tournament semifinals in 2013. They got together on Sunday and Georgetown defeated the 14th-ranked ‘Cuse 79-72. The Orange were without coach Jim Boeheim, who is serving a nine-game NCAA suspension.
 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman .

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