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North Carolina, Texas A&M rocket upwards after top 25 wins

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1 Clemson The trees wasted on newsprint chronicling whether Clemson will finally be challenged in the ACC could fill a forest. Once again, the Tigers remain head and shoulders above everyone else in their conference — and maybe the country. Miami was completely shut down offensively in a 42-17 loss. Travis Etienne has accounted for 409 total yards in the last two games. Trevor who? Clemson’s tailback might be the best player in the country. — 4-0 2 Georgia After all the upheaval within the program, the Dawgs are sitting pretty going into the showdown with Alabama. After a 23-point win over Tennessee, they seem to be the only SEC team playing defense. How does the nation’s No. 2 defense grab you? 1 3-0 3 Alabama It better get Bama’s attention. The Tide are allowing twice as many yards (473) as the Dawgs (236). They just allowed the most in program history (647 vs. Ole Miss). Whatever happens, this season is going to be as entertaining as hell. Bama was the willing participant in a game producing the most yards in SEC history (1,370 vs. Ole Miss). Mac Jones is the country’s No. 1 rated passer and second-most accurate thrower. 1 3-0 4 Notre Dame Let’s cut to the chase. The Fighting Irish aren’t likely to lose until playing Clemson on Nov. 7. There had to be disappointment in Florida State scoring 26 points in a 16-point ND win. Quarterback Ian Book accounted for three touchdowns, and Kyren Williams ran for 185 yards. Louisville is next. 2 3-0 5 North Carolina The Tar Heels are in the top five of the AP Top 25 for the first time since 1997. Some of that is a function of the Big Ten and Pac-12 not playing, but it’s also the talent of the guy I picked as the preseason coach of the year in Mack Brown. UNC took advantage of a depleted Virginia Tech for a convincing 56-45 win. 6 3-0 6 Oklahoma State Idle. Still the best team in the Big 12. Right now, it isn’t even close. The Cowboys have won three games by an average of 21 points. They have to like what they saw in the Red River game. Oklahoma’s win basically makes undefeated OSU the Big 12’s best playoff hope. 1 3-0 7 Florida Dan Mullen, take a bow: Kyle Trask’s 14 touchdown passes through three games are mighty impressive. He’s Florida’s best quarterback since Tim Tebow, which includes the entire reigns of Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain. The defense is another thing. After surrendering 543 yards to Texas A&M, the Gators D is giving up 495 yards per game, second-worst in the SEC since at least 2009. 3 2-1 8 Kansas State Chris Kleiman had a nice week. He signed a six-year extension then knocked off TCU on the road, 21-14. The Wildcats are proving they can win any way you want. They won a shootout against Oklahoma. Against TCU, K-State managed

College Football Power Rankings: North Carolina, Texas A&M rocket upwards after top 25 wins

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CBS Sports graphic

If you didn’t believe it before, you’d better believe it now: Defense is all but extinct. It certainly seemed that way on a weekend where 31 of the 58 teams playing scored at least 30 points.

That shouldn’t be surprising because the average FBS team is scoring 30.3 points per game in 00. If that holds up, it would be a record.

Adding to the fun …

  • Ole Miss and Alabama combined for the most yards ever in a regulation SEC game.
  • Texas and Oklahoma played in the highest-scoring Red River Showdown, which went to four overtimes.
  • Texas A&M beat a top five team (Florida) for the first time since 2002. The Aggies needed 41 points to do it.

What that means for this week’s biggest game is fascinating. Alabama just rolled up its most yards ever on Ole Miss. It now hosts Georgia, which is No. 2 nationally in total defense. I’m sensing something similar to nuclear fission where everything around that clash is reduced to ash, especially if Nick Saban needs his offense to run up 743 yards to win.

“I’m not really calm,” Saban said after surviving Ole Miss, 63-48. “I’m boiling and bubbling, trying to be encouraging to the players.”

First, he has to settle down himself if recent history repeats. The Crimson Tide have given up at least 42 points three times in the last eight games. Before that, Alabama gave up 42 points three times in the prior 65 games.

Editor’s note: Teams from the five conferences not yet playing in the 2020 college football season will be eligible for the Power Rankings beginning Monday, Oct. 19.

Biggest Movers

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1


Clemson

The trees wasted on newsprint chronicling whether Clemson will finally be challenged in the ACC could fill a forest. Once again, the Tigers remain head and shoulders above everyone else in their conference — and maybe the country. Miami was completely shut down offensively in a 42-17 loss. Travis Etienne has accounted for 409 total yards in the last two games. Trevor who? Clemson’s tailback might be the best player in the country. 4-0

2


Georgia

After all the upheaval within the program, the Dawgs are sitting pretty going into the showdown with Alabama. After a 23-point win over Tennessee, they seem to be the only SEC team playing defense. How does the nation’s No. 2 defense grab you? 1 3-0

3


Alabama

It better get Bama’s attention. The Tide are allowing twice as many yards (473) as the Dawgs (236). They just allowed the most in program history (647 vs. Ole Miss). Whatever happens, this season is going to be as entertaining as hell. Bama was the willing participant in a game producing the most yards in SEC history (1,370 vs. Ole Miss). Mac Jones is the country’s No. 1 rated passer and second-most accurate thrower. 1 3-0

4


Notre Dame

Let’s cut to the chase. The Fighting Irish aren’t likely to lose until

NBA Finals: LeBron James wins fourth career MVP award

For the fourth time in his 17-year career, LeBron James has climbed the mountaintop.

lebron james

James and the Lakers coasted to a 109-93 victory over the Heat in Game 6 to win the 2020 NBA Finals. James finished the night with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, extending his record of career triple-doubles in the NBA Finals to 11. He averaged 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 8.5 assists, shooting 59.1% from the field for the series, winning his fourth career Finals MVP award.

The win puts James in second place by himself for career Finals MVP awards, trailing only Michael Jordan, who won the award six times. Three others have won the award three times: Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan.

Lakers fans: Get SI’s special-edition L.A. Lakers 2020 NBA Champions commemorative issue here | SI Presents: Kobe Bryant Tribute issue

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UW baseball team put on NCAA probation, ordered to vacate wins from 2018 College World Series season

Adam Jude

The University of Washington baseball program must vacate all wins from its 2018 College World Series season after the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions ruled that UW provided impermissible recruiting benefits to players’ parents.

The NCAA also announced Friday it has placed the program on a one-year probation and issued a $5,000 fine.

UW athletics said in a news release that it “strongly disagrees” with the NCAA’s ruling and will appeal the decision to vacate wins.

UW says baseball coach Lindsay Meggs self-reported the violations in October 2018. After an investigation, NCAA found that UW paid a total of $7,795 to cover travel costs for the parents of three baseball recruits.

As a result, the NCAA ruled that those three players were ineligible to play for the Huskies in 2018.

Under Meggs, the Huskies advanced to the College World Series for the first — and only — time in program history in 2018, when they finished with a 35-26 overall record.

NCAA rules allow only football and basketball programs to cover travel costs for parents of recruits making an official visit to campus.

“The violations occurred due to a good-faith misunderstanding between former members of the baseball coaching staff and former members of the compliance staff,” the UW release stated. “The former baseball staff members inaccurately thought that the NCAA rule allowing for institutions to pay for parents’ travel in the sports of football and basketball applied to other sports as well, including baseball.”

In addition to the NCAA’s penalties, UW says it has adopted new “corrective actions to strengthen overall compliance measures specific to monitoring travel” and will reduce baseball recruits’ official visits to campus for two years.

“I’m disappointed for our baseball program and for every Husky player past and present who is dealing with today’s news,” Meggs said in a statement. “Since taking over this program, my coaches and I have made it a priority to build and foster a culture of integrity and compliance, and today’s news will not change that.”

According to the NCAA, this is the first “Level I, Level II or major” violation for the UW baseball program — and the first for any UW program since the football team’s 2003-04 saga surrounding then-coach Rick Neuheisel.

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Alex Goff of Kentucky Wildcats golf wins in memory of Cullan Brown

“I had played really well the whole day, kept my emotions under control and thought I was going to cruise in the last couple holes to victory,” Goff said by phone Thursday evening after returning to Lexington, Ky.

Those would turn out to be a very long couple of holes.

Goff double-bogeyed the 17th. That was just the prelude to what the redshirt sophomore described as “a debacle.”

On the 18th, all five of Kentucky’s golfers, who were playing in one group, hit into the same sand trap. All used the same brand of ball marked with the Kentucky logo, marking each with a pen to differentiate them.

“I briefly glanced at the ball and thought it was mine, so I didn’t think twice about it. I hit it and I started walking down the fairway and, 30 seconds later, our assistant coach is like, ‘Alex, come back here,’ and that’s when my heart just dropped,” Goff said.

He had hit the wrong ball, incurring a penalty.

“I had hit a good shot and I was just going to walk up the last hole and soak it in. It was going to be a stress-free last few minutes and instead it was the exact opposite of that.”

Goff would triple-bogey, finishing the day with a 4-over-par 76. Meanwhile, Hunter Walcott of Tennessee, playing in the group behind Goff, birdied the 17th hole. At that point, Goff believed they were tied for the lead, with Wolcott holding the tiebreaker in the scoring format.

Goff recalled thinking, “I do not want to let [Brown] down over something so stupid like that” while waiting for Wolcott to finish. “I was so frustrated with myself. My parents were there and my teammates; it was the biggest stage I’d ever been on and to potentially have a mistake like that cost me the win, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.”

Adding to the drama, those scores would become a source of confusion because of an error by a tournament judge that affected scores posted online and in coverage televised by the Golf Channel.

“It was crazy how many different scenarios and stories there were,” Goff said. “I didn’t know what was true and what wasn’t. … Meanwhile, I’m over here kicking myself in the butt because I had just made a stupid mistake that could cost me something I could remember the rest of my life.”

Wolcott set himself up with a short putt for par to close his round. It lipped out.

Goff had won, by a margin that was corrected to two strokes.

Not that he was looking at that point. “My dad was watching and I was like, ‘I can’t even watch it,'” he said. “When [Wolcott] missed the putt, he yelled, ‘He missed it! He missed it!’ I gave him the biggest hug. It was definitely surreal.”

Cullan Brown was about to begin his sophomore season at Kentucky in September 2019 when osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, was