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The going got tough: ND to rethink scheduling

6:41 PM ET Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly says the school will examine its future scheduling approach with the College Football Playoff in mind after falling out of this season’s race with two November losses. The Irish rose to No. 3 nationally before falling 41-8 at Miami on Nov. 11, their second loss of the season. Notre Dame finished the regular season at 9-3 after losing at Stanford in its finale. It faced four teams in the top 16 of the final CFP rankings and five teams in the final Top 25. Four of Notre Dame’s final six games took place against ranked opponents. The 14th-ranked Irish face No. 17 LSU on Monday in the Citrus Bowl presented by Overton’s. After a strong season defensively, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly knew other schools might be interested in coordinator ...

League to discuss possible fixes to Giannis play

5:28 PM ET On the heels of Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s game-winning bucket, on which the Milwaukee Bucks star stepped on the baseline before finishing a dunk to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, the NBA’s competition committee will add that type of play to the agenda for discussion at its meeting in March, league spokesman Tim Frank said Saturday. Under the current replay rules, the play was not reviewable because it did not meet the criteria to trigger a review. The Bucks escaped Oklahoma City with a win over the Thunder after a dunk from Giannis Antetokounmpo was allowed, despite replays showing he stepped out of bounds on the baseline before reaching the rim. Draymond Green said the NBA should do away with its attempt to be transparent with officiating mistakes late in games. R...

Where’s Baker? Oklahoma QB hops out of bed to prove he’s ready for CFP

2:00 PM ET LOS ANGELES — Sequestered back in his hotel room yet again, Baker Mayfield flipped on the television Saturday morning and saw that the dominating storyline of the College Football Playoff at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual hadn’t changed. In fact, considering Mayfield was now skipping a fourth Rose Bowl event due to some mysterious illness, the chatter had only amplified. Where was he, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley was asked? How sick was he? Would he actually have to sit out the CFP semifinal against Georgia on Monday? Finally, Mayfield decided it was time to make an appearance. And, as far as college football press conferences go, what an appearance it was. Mayfield hailed a driver from the team hotel two miles away and arrived at the L.A. Hotel ...

‘The hit heard around the world,’ five years later

9:00 AM ET On Jan. 1, 2013, with just over eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of the Outback Bowl, then-South Carolina Gamecock Jadeveon Clowney burst up the middle, a blazing runaway train, met Michigan running back Vincent Smith just as Vincent hugged the handoff to his chest — or was it even before?! — and bulldozed Smith to the ground. Smith’s helmet took flight. The ball did too. The Hit was born. The Hit didn’t announce Clowney’s arrival on the football scene. Clowney announced Clowney’s arrival. (“I got down on my knees and thanked the football gods for sending that kid to South Pointe High School,” says Bobby Carroll, his high school coach. “Because he was … there was no doubt when you looked at him. You said, &...

Ohio State DE Hubbard to enter NFL draft

2:06 PM ET Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard will skip his final year of eligibility in Columbus to enter the NFL draft, he announced via Twitter. Hubbard posted a message to Ohio State fans Saturday morning, one day after picking up 2.5 sacks in a bowl victory over USC. A redshirt junior, he said he was ready for a new challenge after graduating this year. pic.twitter.com/rcdzvMaSHN — Samwise (@Sam_Hubbard_) December 30, 2017 Hubbard finished his final year of college football with 42 tackles and seven sacks as part of a Buckeye defensive line loaded with pro prospects. His athleticism and size (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) led many to project him as a speed pass-rusher or a hybrid linebacker for a 3-4 defense at the next level. Ohio State played at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic without Al...

Now 33, LeBron reflects on ’round, orange ball’

2:38 PM ET SALT LAKE CITY — LeBron James will spend his 33rd birthday on Saturday playing on the road against the Utah Jazz — a place where James’ teams have lost their last six games. “I need a win here. I suck here,” James said before the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ morning shootaround on Saturday. “I personally don’t suck, but my team sucks when we come here. We cannot win a game. So, hopefully we can change that.” The day gave James reason to reflect on how he’s changed the world around him in his three-plus decades on the planet. From his childhood in Akron to his Olympic days in Beijing to a summer of film study, LeBron James long ago planted the seeds for long-term success. Now in his 15th season, the harvest has arrived. Steph Cu...

Watson advice to Bama QB Hurts: ‘Be fearless’

7:01 PM ET NEW ORLEANS — One of the first people Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts sought out following the Crimson Tide’s loss to Clemson in the national championship game last year was his counterpart that night. Several days after the game, Hurts called former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson. “I called to congratulate him and find out how he bounced back,” Hurts said Saturday. “He lost it and came back and won it.” No player carries the weight of Alabama’s expectations — and its fan base’s dissatisfaction — quite like Hurts. The sophomore quarterback reflected on his maturation in Tuscaloosa and how he’s preparing for a rematch with Clemson. Watson, who went on to be a first-round pick by the Houston Texans, led Clemson ...

New Giants GM clears out VP Ross, RT Hart

1:27 PM ET New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman started cleaning house in his second day on the job Saturday, firing longtime executive Marc Ross and waiving disgruntled right tackle Bobby Hart. Dave Gettleman’s comments Friday to reporters seem to indicate he’s on board with QB Eli Manning and WR Odell Beckham Jr. returning next season. A promise made will be a promise kept. But it will be hard for Spagnuolo to receive serious consideration given the way his unit has played. Who will lock up the remaining postseason berths? Will Eli Manning be playing in his last game with the Giants? Yes, Week 17 should be interesting. 2 Related Ross, the Giants’ vice president of player evaluation, had been a top lieutenant of previous general manager Jerry Reese and oversaw ...

Eagles activate rookie CB Jones vs. Cowboys

12:28 PM ET PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles plan to activate rookie cornerback Sidney Jones from the football/non-injury list Saturday in front of their regular-season finale against the Dallas Cowboys, it was announced Saturday. Sunday marks the anniversary of the last time Jones played — in the Peach Bowl as a member of the Washington Huskies against Alabama. The second-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft has been on the mend since he ruptured his Achilles during his pro day. Three berths, a first-round bye, home-field advantage in the AFC and the NFC South crown are still up for grabs. Here’s everything on the line Sunday. Nick Foles knows he looked sharper against the Giants than last weke against the Raiders, and he says he has to give his receivers more chances....

Jalen Hurts is 24-2, yet is still criticized as Alabama’s weak link

9:00 AM ET If it’s true you should dress for the job you want, not the one you already have, Jalen Hurts would wear a monk’s robe instead of the jersey of Alabama’s starting quarterback. The perpetually stoic sophomore gives the impression that he would rather take a vow of silence than answer questions about his football ability. Hurts isn’t interested in playing the role of the superstar athlete. He’s his father’s child, living out longtime Texas high school football coach Averion Hurts’ motto: “I ain’t gonna laugh if it isn’t funny. I ain’t gonna dance if there ain’t no music.” Even his touchdown celebrations aren’t for his own enjoyment. Early on during his freshman season, Hurts said, “I’d ...

A year in the life of Clemson’s walking, talking playoff hero

10:00 AM ET NEW ORLEANS — Catching the game-winning touchdown pass to win the national championship made Hunter Renfrow a legend overnight and the Big Man on Campus as soon as he got back to Clemson last January. Students stopped him for pictures. They asked for autographs. A professor even said to him, “I told you so!” after predicting Renfrow would catch two touchdown passes in the national championship game against Alabama. Georgia is taking a page out of Alabama’s playbook to build an SEC powerhouse. Don’t bet against the Bulldogs, either. In Kirby Smart, they have the coach who has been closest to Nick Saban. Clemson and Alabama will hold their rubber match at the Sugar Bowl. With the way these teams have been built through recruiting, the game will featu...

Biggest Week 17 NFL questions, stats and predictions

7:00 AM ET Taking a spin around the NFL to get you ready for Week 17: The big questions Who will clinch playoff berths? There are good spots still available — or at least enough to make the last weekend interesting. OK, mildly interesting. A handful of teams can make it quite simple just by winning. Atlanta can make the NFC picture real easy by beating Carolina at home, where the Falcons are only 4-3 this season. But … if the Falcons lose, then Seattle can earn a berth by beating the Arizona Cardinals at home. Like the Falcons, the Seahawks haven’t been as great at home — they’re 4-3. Regardless of which team earns that sixth playoff spot, the NFC will have five new teams in the postseason. Atlanta and Seattle are the only possible repeaters. See what the latest playoff p...