Oklahoma fifth, Ohio State sixth in penultimate College Football Playoff rankings
Oklahoma was No. 5 in the pivotal second-to-last College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday night, ahead of Ohio State heading into championship weekend when the final four will be set. The biggest question facing the selection committee this week was how much to value Ohio State’s 62-39 blowout of Michigan on Saturday. The answer: The Buckeyes moved up four spots but were still stuck behind the Sooners. The top three teams in the selection committee’s rankings held steady for a fourth straight week. Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame — all unbeaten — are Nos. 1, 2 and 3. Georgia moved into the fourth spot that was previously occupied by Michigan, heading into its SEC championship game against Alabama. It’s a given the SEC winner makes the playoff. Maybe the loser, too.
Notre Dame is already in the clubhouse at 12-0 and Clemson faces Pittsburgh in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game. That leaves one spot very much in play.
Ohio State faces Northwestern (8-4) in the Big Ten championship in Indianapolis and Oklahoma rematches Texas (9-3) in the Big 12 title game in Arlington, Texas. The Longhorns handed the Sooners their only regular-season loss in October. Ohio State’s lone loss was by 29 points at Purdue.
Can the Buckeyes vault past the Sooners if both win Saturday?
Brown returns as UNC coach
Mack Brown is North Carolina’s new football coach in a second stint with the Tar Heels. Brown, who signed a five-year deal that will pay him $3.5 million annually, replaces Larry Fedora, who was fired Sunday after seven seasons. The 67-year-old Brown coached the Tar Heels from 1988-97, with his last two teams finishing in the top 10 nationally.
MIT’s Quinn wins Nason Award
At the New England Football Writers awards ceremony, MIT’s Riley Quinn was named the Jerry Nason Award winner, presented to a senior who succeeds in football against all odds. Born without a left hand and forearm, Quinn was a four-year player at MIT, snaring three interceptions. Other honorees included: BC defensive end Zach Allen (Division 1) and New Haven quarterback Ajee Patterson (D2-3) as the season Gold Helmet winners; UMass wide receiver Andy Isabella won the Harry Agganis/Harold Zimman Award as the outstanding player in New England; Joe Harasymiak (Maine) and Chris Pincince (New Haven) received Coach of the Year awards; and longtime assistant Leo Fanning won the George Carens Award for contributions to football in New England.
MGM Resorts joins MLB
MGM Resorts made its third deal in four months with a major United States sports league, becoming Major League Baseball’s official gaming partner in the US and Japan. Commissioner Rob Manfred said MGM will become an MLB-authorized gaming operator and will promote itself with teams and on the MLB Network, MLB.com and the MLB At Bat app. MGM in August became the exclusive official gaming partner of the NBA and WNBA, and the first official sports betting partner of the NHL last month . . . Third baseman Josh Donaldson and the Braves officially agreed on a one-year, $23 million deal . . . Outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall agreed to a $2.75 million, one-year contract with the Pirates, leaving the Indians after eight seasons.