The Sports Section

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NCAA Football Playoff Picture

Unfortunately, Clemson remained number one after defeating Florida State on Saturday. Surprisingly though, the Seminoles did not drop from #16 after falling to the Tigers 13-23. At the start of the game it looked like Florida St. might be primed for the upset when on the second snap of the game, Dalvin Cook ran for a 75-yard TD. However, the Tigers shut down Cook and the Seminoles after the opening drive, and allowed only two field goals the rest of the way. Barring something extremely crazy, the Seminoles are all but eliminated from the college football playoffs. Coach Jimbo Fisher said that it’s been a “heck of a run” and it is time to start a new one. On the flipside, #1 Clemson strengthened their hold on the top spot in the nation. Coach Swinney of Clemson compared the victory to winning the Kentucky Derby and went on to say, “But we want to win the Triple Crown.” As the coach, players and fans celebrated, the Clemson scoreboard flashed “ACC Atlantic Division Champions.” After top ranked Clemson, there was a shakeup in the next few spots in the playoff.

Alabama jumped up two spots to #2 after a very impressive win over previously #2 ranked LSU. Behind some big time defensive play, the Crimson Tide shut down one of the country’s best running games to defeat the Tigers 30-16 and moved just one spot away from the top seed in the playoffs. It was LSU’s first loss of the season and it dropped the Tigers all the way down to 9th. Even with a loss this season, Alabama showed that they belong at the top of the playoff rankings. Alabama also got some more good news when the team that defeated them, #19 Mississippi, lost in overtime to Arkansas, improving Alabama’s SEC title chances greatly.

Although Ohio State struggled to move the ball against the Minnesota Gophers after a quarterback switch, the Buckeyes still remain undefeated. Quarterback J.T. Barrett will more than likely return to his starting duties after serving out his one game suspension. The Buckeyes will need him to step up, as their final two games are tough ones against archrival #6 Michigan and #16 Michigan State. If Ohio State can run that table, they will lock up a playoff spot and would be a top seed.

Finally, Notre Dame jumped up one spot into the top 4 of the playoff picture with their victory over Pitt. Notre Dame has one loss, but it was to the #1 team, Clemson. Notre Dame will have to keep winning to fend off Baylor and Iowa who both stayed undefeated. (5) Iowa jumped over (6) Baylor, however with their 35-27 win over Indiana. Stanford comes in at 7th in the CFP, but a win in the final game of the season against Notre Dame could be huge. (8) Oklahoma State, (9) LSU and (10) Utah round out the top 10.

After escaping with a victory on a late field goal against Vanderbilt, Florida got a taste of what Florida State has been going through this season. Even though the Gators got the win, they dropped out of the top 10 in the CFP, falling to #11. However, fans aren’t focusing on that right now, because with the win the Gators clinched the SEC East and will play in the SEC championship game for the first time since 2009.

 

NC State @ (16) Florida St. –Sat. at 12:30pm

(11) Florida @ South Carolina –Sat. at 12pm

Miami @ (23) N Carolina –Sat. at 3:30pm

 

NASCAR

            At Texas, the race was clearly dominated by Brad Keselowski. He led a track record 312 of 334 laps on Sunday. After starting from the pole, Keselowski seemed to have the victory in the bag to give him one of the four championship-contending spots in the Chase for the Sprint Cup finale. However, Texas fall favorite Jimmie Johnson had other ideas. After the final restart, Johnson took over and got his 4th victory in a row at Texas Motor Speedway. With Johnson already eliminated from the Chase, his 75th career victory leaves three spots up for grabs at Phoenix. The race at Phoenix International Raceway is the last race before the big finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. At this point, the only driver set in the chase is four-time champion Jeff Gordon. Johnson’s victory makes this week’s race a must win for most of the drivers left in the chase. This week’s Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 is Sunday at 2:45pm ET.

Mike Yost

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NASCAR SPRINT CUP

1 Jeff Gordon (24)                4082

2 Kyle Busch (18)                4080

3 Kevin Harvick (4)              4079

4 Martin Truex Jr. (78)         4076

5 Carl Edwards (19)             4069

6 Brad Keselowski (2)         4057

7 Kurt Busch (41)                 4048

8 Joey Logano (22)              4013

  

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