College football playoffs: Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia and Alabama earn berths

Published: Sunday, December 03, 2017 @ 9:20 AM
Updated: Sunday, December 03, 2017 @ 1:27 PM

Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide  were awarded the fourth and final playoff berth, edging out Big Ten champion Ohio State.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide were awarded the fourth and final playoff berth, edging out Big Ten champion Ohio State.(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The verdict is in, but the debate will continue. Alabama earned the fourth spot in the College Football Playoff that was announced Sunday.

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Clemson (12-1) was ranked No. 1 , followed by Oklahoma (12-1), Georgia (12-1) and Alabama (11-1).

The top three teams locked up the top three spots locked up after winning their conference championship games Saturday.

Clemson, the defending national champion will host the Crimson Tide on New Year’s Day in the Sugar Bowl at 8:45 p.m. ET in New Orleans.  Earlier in the day, Oklahoma will meet Georgia in the Rose Bowl at 5 p.m. ET in Pasadena, California. Both games will be televised by ESPN.

It will be the third straight year Clemson and Alabama will meet in the playoffs and a rematch of the last two national title games. Clemson won the title last season, while Alabama won it two years ago.

This year’s semifinal winners will meet Jan. 8 at 8 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Alabama was idle over the weekend, but the lone loss by the Crimson Tide came against Auburn, another top-10 team.

“You want to get the four best teams in the playoff,” Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN before the pairings were announced. “You got to look at the total body of work that the team did for the entire season, and I would say that if we lost to a team in our conference that was not ranked by 30 points, that you wouldn't be having this conversation. You wouldn't be talking to me.”

Saban was referring to Ohio State's 55-24 loss at unranked Iowa on Nov. 4.

CFP committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said the Iowa loss hurt Ohio State down, ESPN reported.

"As we saw Alabama play week in and week in out, the selection committee believed Alabama was the better football team,'' Hocutt said. "When we looked at Ohio State, when you looked at their resume it was impressive but it wasn't enough for the selection committee to place them in above Alabama."

Even though Alabama did not win its division in the Southeastern Conference, the playoff committee had set a precedent in 2016 by allowing Ohio State into the playoffs, even though the Buckeyes did not win their own division in the Big Ten that year. 

Ohio State made a strong case to secure the final spot with a 27-21 victory against No. 4 Wisconsin on Saturday in the Big Ten Championship Game. Although no team has ever reached the CFP with more than one loss, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer pleaded the case for the Buckeyes (11-2).

“Two wins over top-four teams this year, another blowout win against a (No.) 12 team in America,” Meyer told ESPN. “And so we played three top-five teams, and we won two of them. It’s just amazing how important this playoff is and how the whole world revolves it.”

Georgia and Oklahoma have never met. The Bulldogs are seeking their second national title and have not finished a season No. 1 since the 1980 season. This year, Georgia won the SEC for the first time since 2005.

Oklahoma is in the playoff for the second time and features quarterback Baker Mayfield, the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy.

Patriots’ Tom Brady ‘not talking about’ possible hand injury

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 2:26 AM

Tom Brady met with the media Friday but was tight-lipped about his hand injury.
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Tom Brady met with the media Friday but was tight-lipped about his hand injury.(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke to the media Friday amid wild speculation about his status after a hand injury was listed earlier in the week. 

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“We'll see,” he said when asked about his status for Sunday's AFC Championship game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Brady was spotted at practice Friday wearing red gloves on both of his hands, but it wasn't clear if he worked out with the team. 

The issues began Wednesday when Brady was included on the Patriots injury report. He met with medical staff while his teammates and coach Bill Belichick spoke with the media. 

When asked why he was wearing gloves, he responded, “I've worn them before.” 

He declined to discuss his injury or anything about practice. 

“Why are you wearing gloves inside?” one reporter asked. 

“She (reporter) already asked that,” Brady said.

Brady’s teammates, including center David Andrews and backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, avoided the issue. 

Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald reported Brady jammed his hand during practice and X-rays showed no structural damage.

Brady was listed on the Patriots’ injury report as non-participant at practice Thursday and canceled a second media availability later that day.

Brady has missed practices this season due to various minor injuries, but has not missed any games due to injury since 2008. 

USA Gymnastics says it will not fine McKayla Maroney if she speaks out against team doctor

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 7:00 AM

Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast ‘I Was Molested By Team Usa Doctor For 7 Years’

USA Gymnastics said Tuesday evening it will not fine gymnast McKayla Maroney if she speaks publicly about the alleged abuse by former team doctor Larry Nassar.

Maroney, who signed a nondisclosure agreement for $1.25 million with USA Gymnastics in in December 2016 in exchange for her silence, is currently suing USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State University with the claim that the nondisclosure agreement she signed after claiming Nassar molested her was illegal. 

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USA Gymnastics said in a statement it has not and will not seek retribution if Maroney speaks about alleged abuse by Nassar during his four-day sentencing.

As of Wednesday morning, Maroney was not expected to speak at Nassar’s sentencing.

"USA Gymnastics has not sought and will not seek any money from McKayla Maroney for her brave statements made in describing her victimization and abuse by Larry Nassar, nor for any victim impact statements she wants to make to Larry Nassar at this hearing or at any subsequent hearings related to his sentencing,” the statement to USA TODAY read. “This has been her right and USA Gymnastics encourages McKayla and anyone who has been abused to speak out. USA Gymnastics remains focused on our highest priority — the safety, health and well-being of our athletes and creating a culture that empowers and supports them."

In response to reports Tuesday that USA Gymnastics could fine Maroney up to $100,000 if she spoke out against Nassar at his sentencing like nearly 100 other alleged victims, model Chrissy Teigen offered to pay the fine.

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“The entire principle of this should be fought – an NDA to stay quiet about this serial monster with over 140 accusers, but I would be absolutely honored to pay this fine for you, McKayla,” Teigen wrote.

After Nassar pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct in November, his sentencing on seven sexual assault charges began Tuesday. 

The former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison on child pornography charges.

Chrissy Teigen offers to pay McKayla Maroney's possible $100K fine to speak out about team doctor

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 5:45 AM

Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast ‘I Was Molested By Team Usa Doctor For 7 Years’

One after one, gymnasts and other victims of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, 54, stepped forward in a Michigan courtroom Tuesday to recount the sexual abuse and emotional trauma they say he inflicted on them as children.

U.S. Olympians Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas are among the many women to accuse Nassar of abuse.

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Nearly 100 victims are expected to address the court during the four-day sentencing hearing. 

However, former gold medalist McKayla Maroney may not speak out.

In December 2016, Maroney signed a confidential settlement with the group that trains U.S. Olympic gymnasts to keep allegations that she was sexually abused by Nassar a secret.

The settlement included nondisclosure and non-disparagement clauses and Maroney or her parents could be sued for more than $100,000 for violating the agreement. The suit seeks to invalidate those provisions under a California law that prohibits settlements in civil cases that could result in criminal sex offense charges.

Chrissy Teigen, who is from Snohomish, Washington, is offering to pay Maroney's possible fine so Maroney can speak out against Nassar. 

On Tuesday, Teigen tweeted the following about the fine:

"The entire principle of this should be fought – an NDA to stay quiet about this serial monster with over 140 accusers, but I would be absolutely honored to pay this fine for you, McKayla."

Maroney said Nassar's abuse started in her early teens and continued for the rest of her competitive career.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Chrissy Teigen Fast Facts

Celtics great Jo Jo White dead at 71

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 9:32 PM

Jo Jo White was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.
Boston25News.com
Jo Jo White was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.(Boston25News.com)

JoJo White, who played with the Celtics from 1969 to 1979 and was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015, passed away at the age of 71. 

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News of White's passing was first reported by the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett, who received word from one of White's former teammates. 

The news was confirmed by the Celtics shortly before the team's game against New Orleans Tuesday night. 

White joined the Celtics after a successful college career at Kansas. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie team in 1970, was named an All-Star seven times and had his No. 10 retired by the Celtics in 1982.

White averaged 21 points per game in the Celtics six-game win over the Phoenix Suns in the 1976 NBA Finals. He was named Finals MVP. 

He played for six Celtics teams that reached the playoffs. He had a 13-year career in the NBA, playing two years with the Golden State Warriors and one with the Kansas City Kings after leaving the Celtics. He averaged 20.2 points per game during his career.