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🚨 HEADLINES

πŸ€ This is not normal: Nikola JokiΔ‡ currently leads the NBA in points (579), rebounds (255) and assists (196).

⚽️ MLS Cup Final: The Columbus Crew and defending champion LAFC will meet in Saturday’s MLS Cup Final after beating Cincinnati and Houston, respectively.

πŸ€ Unfamiliar territory: UConn women’s basketball fell to Texas on Sunday, making this the earliest the Huskies have reached three losses since 1982-83.

🏈 FCS playoffs: North Dakota State, South Dakota State and South Dakota are all in the quarterfinals. They’re joined by Villanova, Albany, Idaho, Montana and Furman.

⚽️ Euro 2024 draw: The 24-nation tournament kicks off in Germany next summer. The “Group of Death” appears to be Group B: Spain, Croatia, Italy, Albania.

🏈 A CONTENTIOUS FINAL FOUR

(Yahoo Sports)

(Yahoo Sports)

The final year of the four-team College Football Playoff delivered the most controversial decision yet: 13-0 Florida State won’t get a shot at a national title.

The final four: The New Year’s Day semifinals will feature three of the four winningest FBS programs in Michigan, Alabama and Texas, plus 13-0 Washington, the last champion of the dying Pac-12.

FSU got snubbed for one simple reason: Their star QB Jordan Travis got injured last month and they weren’t the same team without him. It’s a tough pill to swallow for ‘Noles fans β€” and frankly anyone who believes that winning games should matter above all else.

  • “Florida State is a different team than they were through the first 11 weeks,” said CFP committee chair and NC State athletic director Boo Corrigan.

  • “An incredible season, but if you look at who they are … without Jordan Travis, without the offensive dynamic that he brings, they are a different team. … And that was a big factor.”

What they’re saying: After the rankings were unveiled, ESPN analysts Greg McElroy and Booger McFarland took opposing views and summed up the debate that college football fans will be having all week.

  • McElroy: “A lot of people will have big issues with this. They’ll ask, ‘why do we play the games?’ … But the committee actually did the thing that they’ve talked about for the last 10 years … They took a step back, they acknowledged injury … and they put in the four best teams. And that is not an easy thing to do, so I want to tip my hat to the committee.”

  • McFarland: “This is a travesty to the sport. Because we go out there on the field and we play the game, and regardless of whether it looks good at the QB position … the name of the game is to win. … The fact that this committee could take a Power 5 conference champion that’s undefeated and [leave them out] based on the eye test … has me bothered right now.”

The last word: “I am disgusted and infuriated … to have what was earned on the field taken away because a small group of people decided they knew better than the results of the games,” said FSU head coach Mike Norvell after the rankings came out.

  • He then participated in a press conference for the Orange Bowl alongside Georgia’s Kirby Smart.

  • The Bulldogs just lost to Alabama. They’re favored by 14 points against the Seminoles.

Notes:

  • Other rankings: If AP voters picked the final four, it would be Michigan, Washington, Texas and FSU. If the BCS picked, it would be Michigan, Washington, Alabama and FSU.

  • No three-peat: With Georgia out of the playoff, Minnesota remains the only official three-peat national champion (1934-36).

Title odds: Michigan (+160) is the current favorite to win the national championship at BetMGM, followed by Alabama (+190), Texas (+310) and Washington (+700).

Further reading: FSU was wronged, but it’s not just the committee’s fault (Dan Wetzel)

🏈 NFL SUNDAY SCOREBOARD

(Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)(Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

(Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Away teams had the advantage on Sunday, winning seven of the 11 games.

Away team won:

  • 49ers 42, Eagles 19: Brock Purdy and the Niners got revenge for last year’s NFC title game loss and strengthened their claim as the NFL’s best team.

  • Lions 33, Saints 28: Detroit is 9-3 for the first time since 1962.

  • Dolphins 45, Commanders 15: Miami’s ninth win was also the 1,082nd unique final score in NFL history and the seventh “Scorigami” this season.

  • Chargers 6, Patriots 0: New England has allowed 10 or fewer points in three straight games β€” and lost all of them. The last team to do that? The 1938 Chicago Cardinals.

  • Colts 31, Titans 28 (OT): Michael Pittman’s walk-off touchdown clinched Indy’s fourth straight win.

  • Falcons 13, Jets 8: New York falls to 4-8, all but ensuring that they’ll miss the playoffs for the 13th consecutive year.

  • Cardinals 24, Steelers 10: Arizona fought through two weather delays to spring the upset in rainy Pittsburgh.

Home team won:

  • Packers 27, Chiefs 19: Jordan Love starred under the lights at Lambeau as Green Bay handed KC its first loss with Taylor Swift in attendance (4-1 record).

  • Texans 22, Broncos 17: Denver’s five-game winning streak ended in Houston. Texans country, let’s ride!

  • Rams 34, Browns 19: That’s three straight wins for the Rams, who are firmly in the playoff hunt at 6-6.

  • Buccaneers 21, Panthers 18: Mike Evans has 10 straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons to start his career. No other player has had more than six.

More from Sunday: Winners and losers

πŸ€ TOP 10 SCORERS: KD JOINS THE CLUB

Note: Regular-season only. (Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)Note: Regular-season only. (Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)

Note: Regular-season only. (Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)

Kevin Durant has moved into 10th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, supplanting Moses Malone.

By the numbers: Even among legends, Durant’s scoring prowess stands out. His career points per game average (27.3) ranks third among players on the top 10 list.

Points per game:

  1. Michael Jordan (30.1)

  2. Wilt Chamberlain (30.1)

  3. Kevin Durant (27.3)

  4. LeBron James (27.2)

  5. Karl Malone (25.0)

  6. Kobe Bryant (25.0)

  7. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (24.6)

  8. Shaquille O’Neal (23.7)

  9. Carmelo Anthony (22.5)

  10. Dirk Nowitzki (20.7)

Coming up: Durant and James, the only active players in the top 25, go head-to-head tomorrow night in the quarterfinals of the NBA In-Season Tournament.

πŸ€ MEN’S HOOPS: 14 UNBEATENS REMAIN

(Michael Reaves/Getty Images)(Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Northwestern stunned No. 1 Purdue on Saturday for the second year in a row, headlining an upset-filled weekend in men’s college hoops.

Where it stands: We’re less than a month into the season and 348 of the 362 D-I teams have already lost at least once, leaving just 14 unbeaten teams:

  • Arizona (7-0)

  • Houston (8-0)

  • Baylor (8-0)

  • BYU (8-0)

  • Colorado State (8-0)

  • James Madison (8-0)

  • Oklahoma (7-0)

  • Clemson (7-0)

  • Ole Miss (7-0)

  • South Carolina (7-0)

  • TCU (7-0)

  • Cincinnati (7-0)

  • Princeton (8-0)

  • Nevada (6-0)

Unbeaten in both: South Carolina, Baylor, TCU and Colorado State are the only schools with undefeated men’s and women’s teams.

🌎 THE WORLD IN PHOTOS

(David Cannon/Getty Images)(David Cannon/Getty Images)

(David Cannon/Getty Images)

Nassau, Bahamas β€” World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler won the Hero World Challenge on Sunday, while host Tiger Woods left optimistic after finishing 18th out of 20.

(Edmonton Oil Kings)(Edmonton Oil Kings)

(Edmonton Oil Kings)

Edmonton, Alberta β€” Fans threw 15,000 teddy bears on the ice during the Edmonton Oil Kings’ 16th annual “Teddy Bear Toss” for charity. Players wore teddy bear-themed uniforms to mark the occasion.

(Pau Barrena/AFP via Getty Images)(Pau Barrena/AFP via Getty Images)

(Pau Barrena/AFP via Getty Images)

Barcelona β€” JoΓ£o FΓ©lix’s superb finish lifted third-place Barcelona past fourth-place AtlΓ©tico Madrid, which loaned him to BarΓ§a this summer and still owns his contract.

(Dominik Berchtold/Voigt/Getty Images)(Dominik Berchtold/Voigt/Getty Images)

(Dominik Berchtold/Voigt/Getty Images)

Lillehammer, Norway β€” Ski jumping photos never disappoint. Gorgeous shot.

🏈 DEC. 4, 1945: DOC WINS THE HEISMAN

(Bettmann Archives/Getty Images)(Bettmann Archives/Getty Images)

(Bettmann Archives/Getty Images)

78 years ago today, Army fullback Felix “Doc” Blanchard became the first junior to win the Heisman after leading the Black Knights to their second straight national championship, Jeff writes.

News via telegram: Blanchard, who also played linebacker, kicker and punter, later recalled how he learned of his selection:

“I got a telegram. It said, ‘You’ve been selected to win the Heisman Trophy. Please wire collect.'”

Heisman winners by class:

More on this day:

  • πŸ’ 1909: The Montreal Canadiens were established as the Club de Hockey Canadien, making them the oldest* still-operating NHL franchise.

  • ⚾️ 1964: MLB approved the “free-agent draft,” meaning amateur players would be selected by teams in reverse order of the standings going forward.

*Oldest franchise by league: MLB’s Braves (1871); NFL’s Cardinals (1898); NBA’s Kings (1923)

πŸ“Ί WATCHLIST: KNOCKOUT GAMES

Can the Pacers stay perfect in tournament play? (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)Can the Pacers stay perfect in tournament play? (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Can the Pacers stay perfect in tournament play? (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

The quarterfinals of the NBA In-Season Tournament begin tonight with a doubleheader on TNT, Jeff writes.

  • Celtics at Pacers (7:30pm ET): Indiana (10-8) earned home-court advantage with a 4-0 record in group play, but Boston (15-4) is the clear favorite and destroyed the Pacers, 155-104, in their first matchup of the season.

  • Pelicans at Kings (10pm): New Orleans won back-to-back home games against Sacramento two weeks ago. Can they make it three in a row in a much tougher road environment, or will the Kings light the beam en route to the semifinals?

More to watch:

  • ⚽️ Women’s College Cup Final: FSU vs. Stanford* (6pm, ESPNU) … Both teams are vying to win their fourth national championship.

  • 🏈 NFL: Bengals (+10) at Jaguars (8:15pm, ESPN/ABC) … Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson joins the ManningCast on ESPN2.

*Battle of unbeatens: The Seminoles (21-0-1) and Cardinal (20-0-4) have yet to lose a game this season.

⚾️ MLB TRIVIA

(X)(X)

(X)

Jim Leyland, who was elected to the Hall of Fame on Sunday, is one of 10 MLB managers to win pennants in both the AL and NL.

Answer at the bottom.

🍿 BAKER’S DOZEN: TOP 13 PLAYS OF THE WEEKEND

Shaedon Sharpe! (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)Shaedon Sharpe! (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Shaedon Sharpe! (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

  1. πŸ€ Dunk of the year

  2. 🏈 Insane catch

  3. πŸ€ Buzzer-beater!

  4. πŸ€ Another buzzer-beater!

  5. 🏈 Hustle play

  6. πŸ₯ Ridiculous finish

  7. ⚽️ What a strike

  8. 🏈 Cartwheel TD

  9. πŸ€ Wild finish

  10. 🏐 Epic point

  11. 🏈 Running wild

  12. πŸ’ Filthy finish

  13. πŸ€ 360 LeBron

Watch all 13.

___

Trivia: Marlins (won 1997 World Series) and Tigers (lost in 2006 and 2012)

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