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NFL playoffs

The National Football League playoffs are a single-elimination tournament held after the end of the National Football League (NFL) regular season to determine the NFL champion. Six teams from each of the league’s two conferences qualify for the NFL playoffs based on regular season records, and a tie-breaking procedure exists in the case of equal records. The tournament ends with the Super Bowl, the league’s championship game, which matches the two conference champions.

NFL Playoff

NFL postseason history can be traced to the first NFL Championship Game in 1933, though in the early years, qualification for the game was based solely on regular season records. From 1933 to 1966, the NFL postseason generally only consisted of the NFL Championship Game, pitting the league’s two division winners (pending any one-game playoff matches that needed to be held to break ties in the division standings). The NFL playoffs then expanded in 1967, when four teams qualified for the tournament. When the league merged with the American Football League (AFL) in 1970, the playoffs expanded to eight teams. The playoffs were expanded to 10 teams in 1978 and 12 teams since 1990.

The NFL is the only one out of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States to use a single-elimination tournament in all four rounds of its playoffs; Major League Baseball (MLB) (not including their wild-card postseason round), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL) all use a “best-of” format instead.

Current NFL playoff picture

The 32-team league is divided into two conferences: the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC), each of which has 16 teams. Since 2002, each conference has been further divided into four divisions of four teams each. The tournament brackets are made up of six teams from each of the league’s two conferences, following the end of the regular season. Qualification into the playoffs works as follows:

The 4 division champions from each conference (the team in each division with the best overall record), which are seeded 1 through 4 based on their overall won-lost-tied record.
Two wild-card qualifiers from each conference (the two teams with the best overall records of all remaining teams in the conference), which are seeded 5 and 6.

The names of the first two playoff rounds date back to the postseason format that was first used in 1978, when the league added a second wild-card team to each conference. The first round of the playoffs is dubbed the wild-card playoffs (or wild-card weekend). In this round, the third-seeded division winner hosts the sixth seed wild card, and the fourth seed hosts the fifth. There are no restrictions regarding teams from the same division matching up in any round. The 1 and 2 seeds from each conference receive a bye in the first round, which entitles these teams to automatic advancement to the second round, the divisional playoffs, where they face the wild-card weekend survivors. The NFL does not use a fixed bracket playoff system. The number 1 seed will host the worst surviving seed from the first round (seed 4, 5 or 6), while the number 2 seed will play the other team (seed 3, 4 or 5).[2] The two surviving teams from each conference’s divisional playoff games then meet in the respective AFC and NFC Conference Championship games (hosted by the higher seed), with the winners of those contests going on to face one another in the Super Bowl. Only twice since 1990 has neither a number one-seeded team nor a number two-seeded team hosted a conference championship game (in the 2006 AFC Championship the #3 seeded Indianapolis Colts hosted the #4 seeded New England Patriots with the Colts winning 38–34 and the 2008 NFC Championship the #4 seeded Arizona Cardinals hosting the #6 seeded Philadelphia Eagles with the Cardinals winning 32–25).

If teams are tied (having the same regular season won-lost-tied record), the playoff seeding is determined by a set of tie-breaking rules.

One potential disadvantage is that the two teams with the best records in a conference could play each other before the conference championship if they are in the same division. The better team would be seeded #1, while the lesser team would be seeded #5 as the top wild-card team, and as shown in the diagram, it is possible for the #1 division winner to play the top wild-card team in the divisional round. (See also the “Modification proposals” section below.)

The New York Giants and New York Jets have shared the same home stadium since 1984 (first Giants Stadium from 1984 to 2009, and MetLife Stadium since 2010). Thus, if both teams need to host playoff games on the same weekend, they are always required to play on separate days, even during the Conference Championship round. The only time such a scheduling conflict has occurred was during wild-card weekend in 1985, when only 10 teams qualified for the postseason and there were only two wild-card games (See the “History” section below): Instead of playing both wild-card games on the same day, as was the case when the 10-team system was used from 1978 to 1989, the New England Patriots defeated the Jets, 26–14, on Saturday, December 28, before the Giants beat the San Francisco 49ers, 17–3, on the following day.

UFC 217

UFC 217: Fight Card, Bisping vs St-Pierre, MMA fight: Three UFC world titles will be at stake on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Georges St-Pierre returns to the Octagon after a four-year absence to challenge Michael Bisping for the UFC middleweight title. In the co-main event, UFC men’s bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt will defend his title against former teammate turned bitter rival, TJ Dillashaw.

UFC 217

Also, Joanna Jedrzejczyk puts her strawweight title on the line against Rose Namajunas. Here are the 10 things you should know about UFC 217.

Card, Odds, Picks, TV Info And DraftKings Advice

UFC Fight Pass Prelims – 7pm ET
Fox Sports 1 Prelims – 8pm ET
PPV Main Card – 10pm ET

Former UFC welterweight Johny Hendricks has notoriously struggled to make weight for his fights, but he got the monkey off his back ahead of an all-important main card scrap with explosive Brazilian Paulo Costa.

Every fighter on the card made weight. Here is a look at all of the weigh-in results.

MAIN CARD

Michael Bisping (184.6) vs. Georges St-Pierre (184.4) – for middleweight title
Cody Garbrandt (135) vs. T.J. Dillashaw (134.8) – for bantamweight title
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (115) vs. Rose Namajunas (114) – for women’s strawweight title
Jorge Masvidal (171) vs. Stephen Thompson (170.4)
Paulo Costa (185.8) vs. Johny Hendricks (185.8)

PRELIMINARY CARD

Joseph Duffy (155.4) vs. James Vick (155.2)
Mark Godbeer (244) vs. Walt Harris (251.8)
Corey Anderson (205.4) vs. Ovince Saint Preux (205)
Randy Brown (170.8) vs. Mickey Gall (169.8)

PRELIMINARY CARD

Curtis Blaydes (258.8) vs. Aleksei Oleinik (246.2)
Ion Cutelaba (205.6) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (205.2) – CANCELLED BOUT
Ricardo Ramos (135.4) vs. Aiemann Zahabi (135.2)

Ion Cutelaba Tested Positive For a Banned Substance and is Off the Card

Many fans were excited to see Ion Cutelaba take on Michal Oleksiejczuk on Saturday’s early prelims, but that fight has been canceled. Cutelaba was flagged for a potential doping violation and no replacement was named to face Oleksiejczuk.

UFC History in NY and at Madison Square Garden

UFC 217 marks the seventh time the UFC will promote an event in the state of New York and just the second time the promotion will be featured at Madison Square Garden.

This will mark the third time Queens native Randy Brown has performed for the UFC in front of New York MMA fans. Stephen Thompson and Joanna Jedrzejczyk have all fought on previous New York UFC cards.

Five fighters come into Saturday’s event undefeated. Champions Garbrandt (11-0) and Jedrzejczyk (14-0) have never tasted defeat as professionals. Also, Paulo Costa (10-0), Aiemann Zahabi (7-0) and Mickey Gall (4-0) are the other undefeated fighters.

Half of the 22 fighters scheduled to compete are ranked. Ironically, Bisping is the only ranked fighter or champion not paired against a ranked opponent. Georges St-Pierre is no ordinary unranked fighter. The future Hall of Famer may not have fought in the past four years, but he’s won his last 12 fights dating back to 2007. In case you were unaware why this fight was a big deal, that’s part of the reason.

Losing Streaks? None.

How stacked is UFC 217 on paper? Not one fighter on the card is on a losing streak. A few have lost their last bouts and Stephen Thompson has a loss and a draw in his last two fights, but none of the fighters are on the complete skids.

There’s something about the Randy Brown vs. Gall fight that intrigues me. Gall has made a name for himself against popular, but inexperienced fighters. It’s going to be interesting to see what he does in The Octagon against an athletic and dangerous veteran like Brown.

We could learn if Gall is for real during this fight.

Jorge Masvidal Thinks He Gets a Title Shot if He Beats Wonderboy

There’s no question in my mind Jorge Masvidal is one of the four or five best welterweights in the world, but according to Gamebred, he needs to beat Thompson to secure a title shot. I’m not sure if he’s been promised that opportunity, but it doesn’t seem far-fetched.

He comes into the battle with the No.2-ranked Thompson at No. 4 in the 170-pound division. Masvidal has yet to get his shot at the gold, and this could be his opportunity.

A Potential Announcement For UFC 219 Main Event Could Happen

UFC 219 is less than two months away. There are already eight fights signed, but there is no main event announced. Don’t be surprised if Saturday is the day we find out which fight will headline the final show of the year for the UFC.

On Friday, EA Sports announced the details for the upcoming EA UFC 3. The game releases on February 3 for PS4 and Xbox One. Expect to see and hear a good number of advertisements for the game during the UFC 217 broadcast.

Las Vegas shooting witness hid in a freezer, CNN News

(CNN)Bryan Hopkins hid in a freezer with dozens of others while the deadliest mass shooting in US history unfolded in Las Vegas late Sunday night. On Monday morning, he described his experience on CNN’s “Newsroom.”

Las Vegas shooting

Hopkins, a musical artist who had been at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, said the gunfire, which was later revealed to be coming from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, was “constant.”
“Then it would stop for, I don’t know, a few seconds, and then it would start again,” he told anchors John Berman and Poppy Harlow.
Hopkins said he attempted to lead a group to a fence that he recalled seeing. “We see an ice chest — it’s a trailer — and we open up the doors and just start helping people up inside this trailer, which happened to be a freezer,” he said. “There must have been, I don’t know, 23 to 30 of us inside this freezer.”
Hopkins said that some in the freezer worked to calm down the others while he opened the door and discovered the gunfire was still raining down on the festival.
“I turned to a couple of the guys that are in there behind me and said, ‘We gotta leave. If there’s people running around with guns, they’re gonna find us.'” he said. Hopkins described waiting until the sound of gunfire subsided and then rushing to help people get over the fence.
“The thing I’ll always remember is a police officer who ran towards me and said, ‘This way,’ pointed to where to run, and then ran towards the gunfire,” Hopkins said.
More than 50 people were killed in the shooting, which happened during Jason Aldean’s performance on the final night of the festival. The gunman, identified by police as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, is believed to have killed himself before law enforcement breached his hotel room and found a cache of weapons including 10 rifles.

Gunman in Las Vegas kills at least 58, injures 500 more in shooting rampage

LAS VEGAS — A gunman in a high-rise hotel overlooking the Las Vegas Strip opened fire on a country music festival late Sunday, killing at least 58 people and injuring hundreds of others in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

The gunman, identified by police as Stephen Paddock, was later found dead by officers on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said during a news briefing Monday.

The massacre marked the nation’s latest outbreak of gunfire and bloodshed to erupt in a public place, again spreading terror in an American city transformed into a war zone. The carnage in Las Vegas surpassed the 49 people slain in June 2016 when a gunman in Orlando, who later said he was inspired by the Islamic State, opened fire inside a crowded nightclub.

Lombardo said investigators could not immediately identify a motive, leaving no clear answer as to why a gunman killed at least 58 people and possibly more. He also said an additional 515 people were injured, though he did not specify how many were wounded by gunfire or injured in the chaos that followed.

Paddock, 64, was found dead in his hotel room by Las Vegas SWAT officers, police said. They believe Paddock, who had checked in on Thursday and brought a cache of guns, took his own life in Room 135 before officers entered.

Under the neon glow and glitz of the Vegas Strip, thousands of concertgoers who had gathered for a three-day music festival dove for cover or raced toward shelter when the gunfire began at about 10 p.m. Sunday. Police said more than 22,000 people were at the concert when Paddock began firing round after round, shooting from an elevated position that left those on the ground effectively helpless. The typical advice for reacting to an active shooter — “run, hide or fight” — was rendered moot, as many in the packed crowd could not easily run or hide, nor were they able to fight back at someone firing from so far away.

Police described Paddock as a “lone wolf” attacker. Lombardo did not give further details on Paddock’s background and possible motivation, saying that police “have no idea what his belief system was.”

“I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath,” Lombardo said during a later briefing Monday. He also said that given the belief that Paddock was a lone attacker, “I don’t know how this could have been prevented.”

Police said Paddock smashed his room’s window — which would appear to those below to be gold — with something similar to a hammer before he began to fire, pumping off rounds that were audible in rooms floors away. Paddock was found with more than 10 rifles, Lombardo said, and he brought them all inside himself.

One official familiar with the investigation, who asked not to be identified discussing it, said the scene inside the hotel room suggested Paddock had spent a lot of time meticulously planning the attack – particularly for someone with no known background in weaponry.

The official pointed to a number of factors suggesting the foresight and deliberation that went into the attack – bringing a large quantity of weapons and ammunition, a tool to knock out the hotel room window before firing and keeping all of that equipment out of sight of hotel staff until he was ready to carry out the attack.

Relatives of Paddock’s said they were stunned by what happened. Paddock had retired and lived in Mesquite, Tex., for several years  before moving to the Nevada town with the same name. Relatives described him as a quiet man, a licensed pilot who liked to gamble. His brother, Eric, said their mother spoke to the FBI.

“She said, ‘I don’t understand why my son did this,’” Eric Paddock said Monday morning outside his home in Orlando. While his brother had some handguns, Eric Paddock but was shocked by the weaponry police described in Las Vegas.

Eric Paddock said he did not know of his brother having any mental illness, alcohol or drug problems. When he spoke to the FBI, Eric Paddock said he showed FBI agents three years of text messages from his brother, including one that mentioning winning $250,000 at a casino. Stephen Paddock played “high stakes video poker,” Eric said, adding that he did not have any information suggesting the 64-year-old gunman had gambling debts or financial issues.

Their father, Benjamin, was one of the FBI’s most-wanted fugitives decades ago, a convicted bank robber described in one wanted poster as “psychopathic” with suicidal tendencies. Eric Paddock told reporters that Benjamin, their father, was not around much during their childhood.

A former neighbor of Stephen Paddock’s recalled that his home in a 55-and-over community in Florida looked like it was home to college freshman, with nothing on the walls and only a few pieces of furniture.

“One of the first times we met him, he told me he lived there, in Vegas,” Don Judy, his next-door neighbor in the community until two years ago, recalled. “He explained that he was a gambler, and a prospector. He said he was buying this house to check it out for his mother … and that if she liked it, he planned to buy another next door with a floor-plan like ours.”

Just as quickly as he appeared, Judy said, Paddock put up a for-sale sign and was gone, saying that he was moving back to Las Vegas.

As Las Vegas police investigated the horror that had unfolded on the Strip, they also faced a tragedy within their own ranks. The dead included an off-duty city police officer, the department said Monday morning. Two other officers who were on duty were injured, police said; one was in stable condition after surgery, and the other sustained minor injuries.

“It’s a devastating time,” Lombardo said at one of the news briefings he held.

In the initial chaotic aftermath of the shooting, authorities sought a woman named Marilou Danley, described only as Paddock’s “traveling companion.” Lombardo said during a briefing that investigators spoke with Danley, who was found outside the country, and do not believe she was involved in the shooting, though she remained a person of interest.

Her relationship with Stephen Paddock was not immediately known, but they lived at the same address in Mesquite, Nev., according to public records. Lombardo said police in Mesquite searched Paddock’s home on Monday.

Police in Las Vegas had only minimal interactions with Paddock before the shooting, Lombardo said.

“We have no investigative information or background associated with this individual that is derogatory,” the sheriff said. “The only thing we can tell is he received a citation several years ago; that citation was handled as a matter of normal practice in the court system.”

A spokesman for defense giant Lockheed Martin said in a statement that Paddock worked for the company for three years in the 1980s.

“Stephen Paddock worked for a predecessor company of Lockheed Martin from 1985 until 1988,” the statement said. “We’re cooperating with authorities to answer questions they may have about Mr. Paddock and his time with the company.”

On Monday President Trump praised the “miraculous” speed with which local law enforcement responded to the shooting, which he decried as an unfathomable attack on innocents gathered for a concert.

“It was an act of pure evil,” Trump said during remarks from the White House. “We cannot fathom their pain, we cannot imagine their loss.”

Trump ordered flags flown at half-staff and said he would visit Las Vegas on Wednesday.

Federal homeland security officials said there were no specific, credible threats to other public venues around the country, while federal agents headed to Las Vegas to support the local police leading the investigation.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it dispatched agents and began “conducting urgent traces on firearms” recovered after the shooting. FBI criminal investigators — rather than those in the bureau’s National Security Branch — are also helping local police in the case, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack on Monday in multiple messages through its Amaq News Agency. In the messages, the group said the shooter was one of its “soldiers” and had recently converted to Islam, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks extremist groups.

The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, often claims responsibility after such attacks, even in cases where it is unclear whether the group motivated them or was involved. Law enforcement officials on Monday disputed the claims from ISIS.

“We have determined, to this point, no connection with an international terrorist group,” Aaron Rouse, the special agent in charge of the FBI in Las Vegas, said at a news briefing.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he met with FBI Director Christopher A. Wray on Monday morning and spoke with Lombardo, expressing him gratitude and offering federal support.

“The investigation into the horrific shooting last night in Las Vegas is ongoing,” Sessions said. “To the many families whose lives have been changed forever by this heinous act, we offer you our prayers and our promise that we will do everything in our power to get justice for your loved ones.”

After the shooting, scores of people gathered to donate blood to those in need in Las Vegas:

The shooting occurred at the end of the Route 91 Harvest festival, a three-day country music concert held over the weekend. The concert grounds are adjacent to the Mandalay Bay, a sprawling casino on the southern end of the Strip.

The shots began as Jason Aldean, one of the final performers, was playing. Aldean posted an Instagram message that he and his crew were safe. The scene, he wrote, was “beyond horrific.”

Videos posted from people who said they were at the scene showed people screaming and running for cover amid the sound of gunshots that seemed unending. “We thought it was fireworks at first or trouble with the speakers,” said Kayla Ritchie, 21, of Simi Valley, Calif. “They had been having technical difficulty all weekend. Then everything went dark.”

Ritchie traveled with Megan Greene, 19, for the concert, and the two were separated when people began fleeing. They found each other hours later. “Everyone started running for the exit,” said Greene, who hid behind a truck before running into the MGM Grand. “We were in the street, and they told us to get down, get down.”

Taylor Benge, 21, was at the concert Sunday night and said he heard a round of pops that lasted for 10 seconds, as if someone was holding down the trigger. When a performer ran off the stage and the lights came on, Benge said, he realized that “about five feet to the left of me there was a man with a bullet wound to his chin.”

“He was just lifeless on the ground,” Benge said.

© Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post At least some people were injured in the frenzied effort to flee the gunfire. Tracy, 55, a California woman who declined to give her last name, said she was “trampled” trying to flee.

“We thought it was fireworks,” she said, a dazed look on her face and a bandage on her injured knee and shin. “We ran for our lives. We went into Hooters and hid in the bathroom. We felt like sitting ducks there. We went to the second-floor conference room and stayed there.”

A friend came with a mini bus, so Tracy and another friend ran out to the vehicle, terrified to go out on the street again. “Who thinks people would do something like this in America?” Tracy said.

Corianne Langdon, 58, a cabdriver in Las Vegas for the last 6 ½ years, said she was about seven cars back in the taxi line at Mandalay Bay when the gunfire began and began to drive away, seeing police crouching in the street and hundreds of people running away from the concert — some jumping the fence on the side of the venue.

“I had people hanging out of my windows,” Langdon said. “They were screaming, they were so upset, and it just wasn’t getting to me yet the severity of what was going on.”

Those injured in the shooting also included an off-duty officer with the Bakersfield Police Department in Southern California, who was taken to a hospital for nonlife-threatening injuries, according to a news statement. Several of the department’s officers were off duty and attending the concert when the gunfire erupted.

The shooting came as security measures at many music venues have been boosted in recent years after concerts were targeted in terrorist attacks. In May in northern England, a bomb exploded at a concert by American singer Ariana Grande in Manchester, killing 22 people; in November 2015, Islamist attackers opened fire at a rock concert in Paris as part of coordinated attacks that left 130 dead. In both of those cases, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.

In Manila in June, a 42-year-old Filipino gunman armed with a rifle and a bottle of gasoline burst into a casino and set a fire, killing 37 people. Police said the attack was motivated by gambling debts and other personal problems facing the gunman, who fatally shot himself. The Islamic State also claimed responsibility for that attack, but officials repeatedly denied it was terrorism-related.

Berman reported from Washington. Travis M. Andrews, Brian Murphy, Wesley Lowery, Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, Julie Tate and Aaron C. Davis in Washington; Barbara Liston in Orlando; and Dan Michalski in Las Vegas contributed to this report, which will be updated throughout the day. 

Texas A&M vs Alabama – Live, Stream, Football, Game

Texas A&M vs Alabama: Texas A&M may be 4-1 overall and 2-0 in SEC play but not many people are giving the Aggies much of a chance this coming weekend when they host No. 1 Alabama.

According to VegasInsider, the Crimson Tide opened as 25-point favorites in the game.

Texas A&M vs Alabama

Alabama has outscored its previous two opponents – Vanderbilt and Ole Miss – by a score of 125-3. A&M, meanwhile, has needed second-half comebacks each of the previous three weeks.

The Aggies have defeated the Crimson Tide only once since joining the SEC. In A&M’s inaugural season in 2012, they went on the road and took down No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

Texas A&M vs Alabama kick off at 6:15 p.m. Central on Saturday on ESPN.

Texas A&M vs Alabama

Alabama and Clemson have proven that they’re the top two teams in college football this year, but heading into Week 5, most polls had the Crimson Tide with the slight edge at No. 1.

Clemson went on the road and took down No. 12 Virginia Tech, but Alabama defended its home turf in a massive 66-3 win over Ole Miss.

If Nick Saban’s squad had only escaped with a narrow win over the unranked Rebels, it may have made sense for the Tigers to jump ahead of them, but ESPN went ahead and put Clemson at No. 1 anyway:

For a team that’s been desperate for motivation after a Vanderbilt defender called them out, it’s safe to say the Crimson Tide will take note of this.

There’s not much else they could have done against the Rebels to cement their No. 1 ranking, but ESPN has been more impressed with the Tigers.

Texas A&M vs Alabama: Therefore, Alabama will be extra motivated for this weekend’s road trip to Texas A&M. Look out, Aggies.

Early Preview— USC vs Washington State football game

USC vs Washington State: The Trojans, who are undefeated after hanging tough to beat an up-and-coming California Golden Bears team last week, look to continue their winning ways against #16 Washington State University and its high-powered offensive attack.

USC vs Washington State

This will be the first time USC and Washington State have faced each other since the Trojans blasted the Cougars, 44-17, at the Coliseum in 2014. Back then, WSU quarterback Luke Falk was in his redshirt freshman season. When starter Connor Halliday was knocked out of the game, Falk came in and threw for 346 yards and two touchdowns in the losing effort.

The Cougars are 4-0 – their best start in 16 years—and starting quarterback Luke Falk has that offense clicking, however USC will prove to be their first big test of the season.

On the year, Falk has 1,378 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, and only one interception. This will be the best defense Falk has faced this year so it will be interesting to see how he plays.

Sam Darnold has struggled as of late, which could be an issue in this game. On the season, Darnold has thrown nine touchdowns and seven interceptions, a stat line that has a lot of Trojan fans worried.

USC vs Washington State

Mike Leach knows how to get his team to put points in the board so this could easily turn into a shootout. If this turns into back-and-forth bout between both offenses, Darnold will need to make sure he is more polished than he has been all season.

The Trojan defense has been making plays over the last few games though and, frankly, they will need every ounce of playmaking they can get.

Cam Smith and the rest of the unit at linebacker played really well as of late. With the Cougars spreading the field on offense, look for Smith to be all over the place come Friday night.

USC is coming off a 10-point win over Cal on Saturday. While the men of Troy expanded their lead in the fourth quarter to cover the 17-point spread, the Bears scored a late touchdown against Trojan backups to shrink the margin.

That moves USC to 1-3 against the spread in 2017. The Trojans easily covered a 3.5-point spread against Stanford, but failed to match large margins against Western Michigan, Texas and Cal.

Washington State moved to 2-2 against the spread with their 45-7 win over Nevada on Saturday. Coming in as 26-point favorites, the Cougars covered the line and then some. Prior to that matchup, Mike Leach’s squad just missed out on covering against Montana State and squeaked by Boise State. Their only win against the spread to that point was a blowout over Oregon State.

Heading into this season I previewed this game as a potential “trap game.” USC is coming off a tough road game in Berkeley in which we did not see much from the Trojan running game. Look for Clay Helton to try and control the clock early to keep the ball out of the hands of the Wazzu offense.

It’s hard to know what kind of team the USC Trojans are about to face, seeing that the best team that Washington State has played this year is Boise State – I would make argument that every team USC has played thus far is better than Boise State.

All this to say that this will be a fun game to watch. It’s a Top-25 conference game, for crying out loud. Let’s just hope we can get more consistency across the board so then we can, hopefully, see the Trojans exit the week with a win.

GGG vs Canelo Live Stream Where to Watch Fight Online

GGG vs Canelo Live: The fight boxing fans have been waiting years for finally is here. Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin is set to put his WBA, WBC, IBF and IBO middleweight belts on the line against Canelo Alvarez on Saturday night in Las Vegas. At 37-0 with 33 wins via knockout, Golovkin is one of the most successful middleweight boxers of all time. But the champion faces a huge challenge in Alvarez who, at 49-1-1 with 34 knockouts, is considered one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world. There are no free live streams for the fight, but you can watch it online here: When: Saturday, Sept. 16, at 8 p.m. ET Watch: Ring TV.

GGG vs Canelo Live

Date: Saturday, September 16
Time: 8 p.m. ET, 11 p.m. PT
Location: T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada

How to watch: GGG vs Canelo Live
TV: HBO for $79.99
Stream: CaneloGGG.com or Sling TV for $79.99

Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin will face off Saturday night in what’s billed as the first “true” superfight since Floyd Mayweather defeated Conor McGregor in August.

The two power punchers will throw down live from Las Vegas at 8 p.m. ET. A portion of the event’s proceeds will be donated to Texas and Florida to recover from Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

GGG vs Canelo Live stream

Golovkin, the favorite to win, comes into the fight 37-0 with 33 wins by knockout. Alvarez enters 49-1-1 with 34 knockouts on his resume. Golovkin remains a -155 favorite over Canelo at +125, according to CBS Sports.

Saints vs Vikings: Football, Game, Preview

Saints vs Vikings: The New Orleans Saints are hoping to win their season opener on Monday for the first time since 2013, but the matchup against the Minnesota Vikings won’t be easy.

In addition to playing a primetime road game in a loud stadium, the Saints will face a Vikings team with a stellar defense and an offense capable of being efficient.

Here are three key matchups that could determine the outcome:

Saints offensive tackles vs. Vikings defensive ends

Saints vs Vikings

Ryan Ramczyk’s debut at left tackle for the Saints comes at an unfortunate time, but everyone should quickly learn how ready he is.

The Vikings boast one of the NFL’s top groups of defensive ends with Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen and Brian Robison. All three had at least 7.5 sacks last season, and Ramczyk will likely face one of them each play.

Don’t be surprised if the Saints frequently put a tight end on the left side or have a running back chip to help Ramczyk. No matter how confident the team is in the first-round pick, helping him block seems like a logical move.

With a strong season in 2016, right tackle Zach Strief has earned the benefit of a doubt even at age 33, but one misstep by the veteran could result in a negative play. Ramczyk and Strief will have to play well throughout the game to keep Drew Brees upright and help the offense move down the field.

Rhodes is aggressive, strong and fast, and his performance the past four years helped him earn a new contract that makes him the third-highest paid cornerback in the NFL in terms of annual value.

But, Thomas is certainly not scared of a challenge. If anything, he seems to relish opportunities against good cornerbacks, and after talking this offseason about his plans to show improvement, Thomas draws a matchup that will give him an opportunity to show whether or not he’s grown.

With Willie Snead out, Thomas will surely be Brees’ go-to target for the next three weeks. Thomas will find it difficult to create separation against Rhodes, so he’ll have to showcase his ability to make contested catches.

Saints vs Vikings

Saints linebackers vs. Vikings running back Dalvin Cook

This game will be a test in many ways for the new-look group of Saints linebackers, especially with Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford favoring quick and accurate passes.

The toughest challenge for the Saints, though, will be covering Cook because he’s such a weapon in the open field. In 2016, Cook averaged 14.8 yards per reception, and with the Vikings likely running a lot of shotgun, Cook will probably be running a lot of routes.

As good as the Saints linebackers looked this summer, they still mostly struggled covering rookie running back Alvin Kamara. Kamara and Cook are different players, obviously, but the linebackers will have to cover well in the game to limit Cook’s big-play ability.

North Carolina vs California Football Game, TV Channel, Watch Online

North Carolina vs California – After eight long months of offseason practices, strength and conditioning work and plenty of hours in the film room, North Carolina will open its 2017 season against California at Kenan Stadium on Saturday (12:20 p.m./ACCN).

North Carolina vs California

The Tar Heels, who ended a promising 2016 season on a negative trajectory with three consecutive losses to FBS opponents, are seeking their first win over a Power 5 opponent in a season opener since 1997. UNC is a 12.5-point favorite over the Bears, who were picked to finish last in the Pac-12 North in the league’s preseason media poll.

North Carolina vs California

First-year California head coach Justin Wilcox has the benefit of uncertainty on his side. This is UNC’s second consecutive season opener against an opponent breaking in a new coaching staff. Kirby Smart won his first game as Georgia’s head coach over the Tar Heels last season in Atlanta.

“We’re looking at a lot of tape, wasting a lot of time, when it comes down to it, but you have no way of knowing,” head coach Larry Fedora said this week. “So you spend a lot of time trying to over-prepare, so that your kids have some kind of idea of what’s going to happen in the game.”

UNC has enough uncertainty of its own, at least on the offensive side of the ball. The Tar Heels lost 98.6 percent of its total offensive production from a year and 87.4 percent when factoring in wide receiver losses. Fedora has yet to name a starting quarterback from the trio of LSU graduate transfer Brandon Harris, redshirt freshman Chazz Surratt and sophomore Nathan Elliott, although team sources indicate Harris is the likely option to start on Saturday.

“We’re trying to see, quarterback-wise, the first guy we put out there, can he handle and lead and manage this team and take care of the football?” UNC offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic said. “That’s No. 1. And then from there it’s who are our playmakers? Who are the guys that are going to rise up on the outside and the perimeter, and the running backs. It’s a lot of unknowns.”

Wide receiver Austin Proehl (43 catches, 597 receiving yards, 3 TD) and tights Brandon Fritts (59 yards, TD) and Carl Tucker (130 yards, TD) provide experience at the skill positions, although the lack of playing experience at running back and wide receiver as a whole is a concern entering the season opener.

Watch North Carolina vs California live stream

“I want to see their competitive level,” UNC wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer said. “How much they know, how much coaching they took and can they apply it from the classroom to the practice field and now to the game field. I feel confident they know what to do, but stress changes all of that. A game situation is kind of like getting prepared for a war. When you’ve got rubber bullets as opposed to live ones, the live ones kill you. The rubber ones just hurt. It’s a little bit different.”

UNC’s strength is a veteran defense that returns seven starters, including All-American candidate M.J. Stewart at cornerback, and the majority of its two-deep. The Tar Heels ranked 43rd nationally in yards per play allowed (5.37) in 2016 despite giving up 227.3 rushing yards per game (worst in the ACC).

Cal offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin has settled on inexperienced sophomore Ross Bowers as his starting quarterback, thereby placing a significant burden on senior running back Tre Watson, who ran for 709 yards and four touchdowns on a 5.0-yards-per-carry average in 2016.

North Carolina vs California

“We need Tre, big-time,” Wilcox said. “He’s a talented guy. We’re going to need him to make big runs for us and big catches and protect. He comes out with a good energy and a good attitude. We need him to step up and be a good player and be a good leader for us.”

UNC defensive coordinator John Papuchis has emphasized stopping the run this preseason, which will be tested with Baldwin’s 10 personnel approach, consisting of a running back and four wide receivers to spread the field. Former five-star talent Demetris Robertson broke freshman receiving records set by NFL standouts Keenan Allen and DeSean Jackson a season ago and will serve as an explosive weapon in the passing game to complement Watson.

UNC starting middle linebacker Andre Smith doesn’t seem overly concerned.

“It might be a little bit easier going against them than our offense,” Smith said. “Our offense has a lot of moving pieces pre-play and they don’t have as much. And when they do, it gives off a lot of indicators. So it will be easier playing against them than our offense.”

The Tar Heels also caught a scheduling break in having their West Coast opponent play at 12:20 p.m. Eastern time. The Bears arrived in town on Thursday to help with the time change. California’s last East Coast win came against Rutgers in November 2001.

Utah vs North Dakota: score, time, TV channel, how to watch

Utah vs North Dakota: It’s about that time again. Summer nights are getting cooler, kids are back in school, and Utah football is back. The University of Utah opens up its season against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. The game will be held Thursdday at 5:30 p.m. MDT.

Utah vs North Dakota

The Utes finished 9-4 last season and will look to get off to a hot start. North Dakota is no cakewalk; the Fighting Eagles are ranked 10th in the FCS polls and coming off an impressive 9-3 record last season.

Utah vs North Dakota

Here are six numbers you need to know for the Utes as they prepare to open their season.
The Utes’ biggest news of the summer was the naming of Tyler Huntley as the starting quarterback. This game will mark Huntley’s first start of his collegiate career. Last season, Huntley appeared in just four games as a true freshman, completing 5 of 7 passes for 60 yards. This will be a good opportunity as the weakest part of North Dakota’s defense was its ability to defend the pass. The Fighting Eagles had an FCS ranking of 107th in pass yards given up per game, and allowed 25 touchdowns through the air. If the Utes were looking to ease Huntley into action, this might have been the perfect time.

The addition of speedster Darren Carrington might help Huntley transition as well. Carrington comes to the Utes as a graduate transfer. You might remember him as the player who broke Ute fans’ hearts as he scored the winning touchdown with two seconds left for a poor Oregon Ducks team last season. Carrington led the Ducks in receiving yards with 606 on 43 receptions. Carrington also had an impressive 14.1 yards per reception last season. Perhaps the most exciting news for Ute fans is that many would consider his last season a disappointment. In his first two seasons with the Ducks, Carrington had an outstanding 19.0 yards per reception. The Utah passing game has a legitimate deep threat in its arsenal.

As poor as North Dakota’s pass defense was last season, its rush defense was great. The Fighting Eagles gave up only 91.3 rush yards a game in last season’s contests. More impressively was their ability to defend each rush allowing less than 3 yards per carry. Now the Fighting Eagles only had one FBS team on their schedule last season, the Bowling Green Falcons. However, Bowling Green averaged over 180 rush yards per game, and North Dakota was able to limit it to only 88 yards on the ground. North Dakota put on an impressive comeback in that game as well, losing by a score of 27-26.

Get live scoring updates, box score and how to watch Utah vs. North Dakota:

What: Utah Utes (9-4 in 2016) vs. North Dakota Fighting Hawks (9-3 in 2016)

When: 5:30 p.m. PT, Thursday, Aug. 31

Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah

TV: Pac-12 Network

Live stream: Pac-12.com and the Pac-12 Now app

Series history: This is the first-ever meeting between the Utes and Fighting Hawks

Did you know? North Dakota won a share of the Big Sky title last season and is picked to again win the conference thanks to returning starters at quarterback and running back, along with contributors up and down both sides of the ball.

Utah vs North Dakota live stream

As good as the Fighting Eagles were on stopping the run last season, the Utes were equally as good on the offensive side of the ball. Utah averaged an impressive 214 yards per game on the ground. The departure of Joe Williams and four key offensive linemen might make it difficult to reproduce those numbers. This matchup will be something to watch in order to see how Zack Moss and company can handle the workload.

Utah vs North Dakota

That number is not a typo. New offensive coordinator Troy Taylor should have Ute fans excited. As the play caller for Eastern Washington last year, the Eagles’ offense was unstoppable. Eastern Washington led the FCS in total yards passing at 5,614 on the season, which equals out to 401 yards a game. Compare that to Utah’s pass offense of just 2,817 total yards last season at only 216 yards a game. Also, the Eastern Washington Eagles threw for 54 touchdowns last season, Utah had 15.

This would not be a quality Utah article without mentioning the University of Utah special teams. The Utes’ total net punting yards for the season was 44.63. That number was good enough for first in the nation. Mitch Wishnowsky and his Australian foot was named the top punter of the year and a unanimous All-American selection. Never underestimate the power of special teams. Punters are people too.

Utah vs North Dakota Prediction: Utah won’t overlook North Dakota, but it might also hold a few cards close to the chest as the Utes prepare for the heated in-state rival coming up. Look for Utah to win comfortably. Utah 37, North Dakota 17.

Bonus prediction: Utah downs at least one punt inside the 5-yard line.