The midway point of the season has passed and the competition is heating up.We dive into the details of several notable injury updates and roster moves around the league in this edition of NFL news and notes. One video you have to seeBaker Mayfield just couldn’t stand hearing “the dumbest question you could ask” and exited his media availability.Baker Mayfield got into a heated moment with a reporter and walked out of his weekly press conference. #Browns pic.twitter.com/lSGxos3Ce8— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) October 30, 2019Wednesday’s tweet of the dayNFL numbers appear to be thriving despite questionable officiating and teams tanking.#NFL average viewership up 6 percent, 35 for 35 of top shows among all programming. https://t.co/vURBaVtohf— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) October 30, 2019 Three things that matterTrent Williams does not pass physical with RedskinsTrent Williams’ return to the Redskins has hit a snag. One day after ESPN reported the offensive tackle would be ending his holdout that lasted to this year’s trade deadline, Williams apparently had an issue with his helmet and failed his physical as a result.Trent Williams did not pass his physical with the Redskins. Discomfort with his helmet.— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) October 30, 2019Williams has had his issues with the Redskins this season already as he was dissatisfied with how the medical staff handled a growth found on his head earlier in the offseason. That led to an eight-game holdout that ended Tuesday. The Redskins then thought they would have their best tackle back, but apparently they will have to wait even longer. After missing the first eight games of the season, it seems unlikely he’ll make his 2019 debut Sunday against the Bills.Christian McCaffrey limited at practice with knee injuryThe star running back appeared on the team’s injury report but coach Ron Rivera clarified the move was merely a precaution and that there’s no concern McCaffrey will miss Sunday’s game against the Titans.McCaffrey is coming off a big Week 8 performance despite a loss to the 49ers after carrying the ball 14 times for 117 yards and a touchdown while logging four catches for 38 yards.Seahawks place Tedric Thompson on IRIt was reported the 24-year-old starting safety will undergo surgery on a torn labrum, which is shocking considering he played every snap in the team’s win over the Falcons on Sunday. Still, the team could get a boost elsewhere.Seahawks coach Pete Carroll noted veteran tight end Ed Dickson has a chance to play Sunday against the Buccaneers after spending the first eight weeks of the season on injured reserve with a knee injury.Two things that don’t matterAndy Dalton “disagrees” with Bengals benchingThe veteran quarterback wasn’t happy with the team’s decision to bench him for rookie Ryan Finley and voiced his frustrations after his agent was unable to find him a trade partner before Tuesday’s trade deadline.“I don’t agree with the decision but I’m going do everything I can to help the team,” Dalton told reporters. “It happened three hours before the trade deadline. I wish they would have, at least if he was thinking about it, at least try to let me see if I could end up somewhere or at least see if there was interest in possibly getting traded.”At that point, the way it was all handled, there wasn’t enough time to even have that happen.”Considering Dalton had previously started every Bengals game for which he has been healthy since Week 1 of his rookie season in 2011, it could be argued he deserved better.Deshaun Watson will miss World Series pregame festivitiesThe Texans quarterback won’t participate in the ceremonial “Play Ball” call before Game 7 of the World Series in Houston because of a “minor setback” with his injured left eye.Watson has been dealing with swelling and redness after getting kicked in the eye Sunday against the Raiders. He was at practice Wednesday as the team prepared for its Week 9 matchup with the Jaguars in London, but one report suggested “it was thought best he rest up rather than expose it to bright lights at game.”
The Cowboys had a bit of a hiccup in losses to the Packers, Saints and Jets and haven’t been as good on the road.Here’s everything to know about betting on Cowboys vs. Giants in Week 9, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for “Monday Night Football.”MORE: Get the latest NFL odds & betting advice at Sportsbook ReviewCowboys vs. Giants for ‘Monday Night Football’Spread: Cowboys by 6.5Point total: 48Odds: Cowboys -110, Giants +100The Cowboys have been hovering around touchdown favorites on the road since they went into their Week 8 bye. The Giants are coming off a tough five-point loss at the Lions. The number lines up with the recent results to be slightly less than 7.Cowboys vs. Giants all-time seriesThe Cowboys hold a 67-46-2 lead in the rivalry. They have won have five consecutive games going back to their series sweep in the ’17 season. The average margin of victory in those games has been greater than 11 points. The last time the Giants won was a 10-7 game in December ’16, before both teams made the playoffs during Dak Prescott’s rookie season.Three trends to know— 59 percent of bettors are firmly in the Cowboys’ corner to win by more than a touchdown after losing to the Jets in their last trip to MetLife Stadium this season.— Dallas ended a three-game losing streak straight up and against the spread with the convincing 27-point win over Philadelphia. The team has covered in all four of its victories.— New York ended a three-game skid against the spread by losing to Detroit by only 5 after being 6-point underdogs on the road.Three things to watchDak attack Part 2Prescott posted a perfect passer rating of 158.3 when he last faced the Giants, throwing for 405 yards and 4 TDs. He was on point against a weak secondary with big plays and didn’t feel any hint of a pass rush. He’s got his pass protection and wide receivers totally healthy to go to work at a high level again.More Golden, no SterlingThe Giants will be without wide receiver Sterling Shepard (concussion) again, but they do have Golden Tate, a former Cowboys killer with the Lions, available for this one. Rookie Darius Slayton also is coming off two big-play TDs against the Lions. Jones is starting to find his groove with his key weapons, and both tight end Evan Engram and running back Saquon Barkley can cause some coverage problems for Dallas, too.Zeke vs. SaquonEzekiel Elliott was a little slow and rusty in the first meeting coming out his holdout. Barkley is back to full strength after the ankle injury he suffered against the Buccaneers. The back who has the better all-purpose game is likely to be on the winning side on Mondday. When the Cowboys (4-3) and Giants (2-6) face off on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” in Week 9, it will be the reheating of a division rivalry. Dallas will try to stay a half-game ahead of Philadelphia for first place in the NFC East, while New York will try to increase its third-place lead to two games over Washington.The Cowboys won the season’s first of two meetings in Week 1 in Dallas easily, 35-17. Since then, the Giants have made a starting quarterback change from long-time nemesis Eli Manning to rookie first-round pick Daniel Jones. Stat that mattersThe Giants are No. 25 against the pass, giving up on average 264.4 yards per game. They also are allowing 9.1 yards per completion. There’s no reason to think the Cowboys won’t be aggressive again with Prescott taking plenty of deep shots to a healthy combination of Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup.Cowboys vs. Giants predictionThe Cowboys have too much firepower to make this a trap game, given they also remember what happened when they were sluggish against the crosstown Jets. The Giants will put up a fight at home, but they will fall short of the number after a late Dallas put-away drive.Cowboys 27, Giants 19
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Rustand awarded State Am title Golfer Johnny Miller once said he’d love to be leading the U.S. Open or a similar tournament going into the final day and then tell everyone he wasn’t going to play on Sunday because of his beliefs.Miller never did anything like that during his successful PGA career, during which he played golf hundreds of times on Sunday.However, Saturday afternoon, his youngest son, Todd, made such a stand — forfeiting his chance to play in the Men’s State Amateur finals today at the Jeremy Golf & Country Club because he refuses to play golf on the Sabbath.Miller had defeated Clay Bingham in Saturday’s semifinals, but by choosing not to play today, Clark Rustand, a 24-year-old BYU student from Tucson, Ariz., was declared the State Am winner a day earlier than usual.Miller, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who served an LDS mission to Chile, isn’t the first athlete to refuse to compete for religious reasons.One of the most famous examples is British runner Eric Liddell, who refused to run on the Sabbath during the 1924 Olympics. That story was featured into the Oscar-winning movie “Chariots of Fire.”In 1965, Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Sandy Koufax refused to pitch on the holiest Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur, during the World Series. More recently, former BYU lineman Eli Herring passed up a large signing bonus and a likely NFL career because he didn’t want to play on Sundays.Miller, who will be a senior on the BYU golf team next year, said he made the decision not to play golf on Sundays while he was on his mission.”What I do on Sunday is way more important than winning a tournament,” he said. “I don’t look down upon people who play on the Sabbath. I would just feel like a hypocrite in my own heart if I did. I made that decision, and I’m going to stick with that.”Miller’s decision was surprising to everyone from tournament officials to his fellow golfers to the media covering the event.Most said they respect him for sticking up for his beliefs, but many were also critical of him for not making the decision earlier and wiping out the final day of a tournament that has been played for 106 consecutive years, longer than any tournament in the world.”It’s pretty disrespectful to a tournament that’s been around 106 years,” said defending champion Tommy Sharp, who lost in the semifinals to Rustand. “He knew the tournament ended on a Sunday when he entered. It should not be changed because of one guy.”Miller had hoped the finals could be moved to Monday, and there was talk about making Miller and Rustand co-champions. But after meeting with each player for a few minutes, the Utah Golf Association board of directors declared Rustand the winner by forfeit.”I’m surprised, I’m shocked and I’m disappointed,” said UGA executive director Joe Watts. “Although I fully respect a person and his religious convictions, it’s a matter of what process that kind of religious conviction should have shown itself. There’s lots of considerations a person has to make besides his own personal religious convictions before he enters into an activity. Volunteers . . . , golf courses . . . , contestants who have put in their time and effort. . . . It should have been handled sooner.”Miller had known all week that he wouldn’t play Sunday and defended his decision not to tell anyone beforehand. He said had planned to forfeit his semifinal match and allow that player to go on to the finals, but when he was matched up against his BYU teammate and friend Bingham, he knew that Bingham wouldn’t accept that idea.Like Miller, Rustand is LDS and a returned missionary, and he was understanding of Miller’s decision not to play.”I totally respect his decision of not playing on Sunday,” Rustand said. “But I’ve made the decision to try and compete at the highest level, and that puts me in a position to play on Sundays. I wish it wasn’t the case and that I could have Sundays to relax and go to church. But at the same time if I do make it and it becomes my livelihood it will put me in that predicament even though I honor my commitments to my church.”Miller said he wasn’t bitter about the UGA’s decision and praised Watts and the rest of the UGA board who organized and put on the event.”I had a great time and made a lot of great friends,” Miller said.”I appreciate all the hard work they’ve done for Jeremy Ranch, giving up their course, and appreciate the way they handled this. I’m fine with the decision.”He said he isn’t planning on being a professional golfer and competing on Sunday like his father and numerous other LDS athletes do.”I’m going to do something in the golfing profession, but I hope I won’t have to work on Sunday,” he said.As for next year, Miller isn’t sure whether he will enter the State Amateur and he may not have a chance to anyway, according to Watts.”We will be considering changes in our entry form for players to declare in advance if they’re not going to play until the end of the tournament,” said Watts. “We don’t want them taking other people’s places. “We have people working hard to get in this tournament; they deserve a chance if someone isn’t really here to win it.” Related
E-mail: email@example.com Fandemonium! 11-0 Utes make BCS history Related Auburn still in the chase to be No. 1 Barring something totally extraordinary, the Utah football team willbe playing in a BCS bowl game early next year.The 52-21 victory over BYU Saturday night gave the Utes the perfect 11-0 record they needed to get there. And after the game, Liberty Bowl executive director Steve Ehrhart opened the door for the Utes to accept a BCS bowl bid in two weeks, by letting the Mountain West Conference champion out of its commitment to that bowl.Calling it “a bittersweet moment” and with MWC commissioner Craig Thompson standing nearby, Ehrhart announced that the Liberty Bowl was reluctantly allowing Utah to pursue a BCS bowl.”We would have loved to have two top 10 teams with Louisville and Utah,” he said. “But understanding the situation with the BCS, we wanted the opportunity for Utah to succeed at the highest level.”That means the Utes will be playing either Jan. 1 at the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix or the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 3. The Rose Bowl in Pasadena and the Orange Bowl in Miami are longshot possibilities for the Utes.The outcome of the game left the seven bowl representatives from the Fiesta Bowl and Sugar Bowl wearing huge grins on their faces.While the four guys in the bright yellow jackets from the Fiesta Bowl were much more noticeable than the three guys in the navy blue blazers from the Sugar Bowl, the Sugar Bowl representatives were more definitive in their desire to have Utah play there.The two top-ranked teams in the BCS standings are guaranteed slots in the Orange Bowl, which right now would be USC and Oklahoma. It also looks like Cal and Michigan are headed to the Rose Bowl.The Sugar Bowl has a tie-in with the SEC champion, likely Auburn, while the Fiesta Bowl has a tie-in with the Big 12 champion, likely Oklahoma. Bill Kearney, president of the Sugar Bowl said there are two likely scenarios his bowl is looking at.”If Oklahoma finishes second, the Fiesta Bowl would have the first pick to replace (Oklahoma) and the thinking is they would take Utah,” he said. “Conversely, if Auburn leapfrogs Oklahoma in the BCS standings, we would lose Auburn and we would pick first. And in all probability, we would take Utah.”Auburn gained ground on Oklahoma next week, but may have fallen back with a close win over Alabama Saturday, while the Sooners breezed past Baylor.Fiesta Bowl President John Junker said his bowl has been studying teams since last spring. His committee noticed how the Utes beat Oregon and California last year and so Junker was on hand for the Utes’ opening 41-21victory over Texas A&M.”Their offense is one of the most exciting in the country, they’re unbeaten, they’re ranked sixth in the BCS,” he said. “Their credentials are authentic.”However, he didn’t want to say Utah would be its first pick among the Atlantic Coast Conference champion and Big East champion, although it seems obvious they would be.”It’s still too early. We’ve learned that this is the time of yearto be a little bit careful,” Junker said. “Hey I’ll tell you what — Utah could still play in the Orange Bowl for the national championship. They could play in the Rose Bowl.”People think you can just mail in the scores, but it never works out the way people expect it to be. We think there’s going to be one more big surprise. There has been every year so far.”That doesn’t mean Junker wouldn’t be absolutely thrilled to have Utah in the Fiesta Bowl. He noticed the excitement displayed toward his bowl with all the sombreros worn by Ute fans, particularly in the student section and the Tostitos chips and tortillas being thrown around.”I’m really excited to see that — it’s a big compliment,” he said. “It says a lot to see the amount of enthusiasm shown by this community.” As for the change of heart by the Liberty Bowl, which was taking a hard line two weeks ago about releasing the MWC champion, Thompson wouldn’t say what kind of agreements were made with the Liberty Bowl whether monetary or otherwise, but did say the details would come out later.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Try to forget for a minute about those late missed free throws as well as those maddening traveling turnovers, so common with European players.The fact is, over the past month, Luka Drca has been as consistent as any player on the Utah basketball team on both the offensive and defensive ends.The 6-foot-5, Serbian-born point guard has been playing more and more minutes, especially down the stretch for the young Ute team.He’s brought toughness to the defense as well as a creative touch to the offense as a player who is hard to guard and makes plays.”He’s got a great feel for the game,” says Utah coach Jim Boylen. “He brings physical toughness and competitiveness. He plays with great confidence and has great vision of the floor. But he’s also a developing player.”Over the past eight games, Drca has been playing 25 minutes per game after averaging just 14 minutes in the first nine games. In those last eight games, he’s averaged 6 points and 4 rebounds, while handing out 36 assists, more than Utah’s other three guards (Tyler Kepkay 12, Lawrence Borha 12, Johnnie Bryant 10) combined.Tuesday night at New Mexico, Drca came in the game with 14:14 left and the Utes trailing by six and helped the Utes gain a 9-point advantage in a dizzying six-minute span. He made a key steal and layup, assisted on three baskets, grabbed a couple of rebounds and generally directed the Ute offense.He also plowed over a Lobo defender trying to score, which was the start of a New Mexico 11-point run that led to overtime and Utah’s eventual loss.”He needs to improve his decision-making,” says Boylen. “His confidence almost works against him sometimes because he believes he can make any play any time. That’s the one thing I talk to him about is making the right play at the right time.”Perhaps what Boylen likes best about Drca is his unselfishness.”He feels as good about an assist as a basket, and I like that about him,” says Boylen. “He gives us an assist guy off the bench, also a scoring guy off the bench and a creative guy off the bench.”He’s not just a guy who holds down the fort.”Drca’s minutes last year were wildly inconsistent as he hardly played early in the year before suddenly becoming a starter for nine games. Then at the end of the year, he was playing less than five minutes a game.During the offseason, a torn labrum in his right shoulder limited him for nearly six months and didn’t allow him to play on the Utes’ trip to Australia.”He should be a 40 percent 3-point shooter,” says Boylen. “If he can improve his shooting, then with his passion and his intelligence and his size … “Well, you get the picture. Boylen thinks Drca can be very good for the Utes over the next two years.Drca was recruited to Utah by former Ute assistant Mike Score in 2004. He had come to America to play against a national high school team and turned out to be the most valuable player. Drca said several colleges got DVDs of the game, and after being recruited by Rice, Minnesota and other schools, he decided to come to Utah.”I knew Utah is a really, really good school for education and for basketball,” Drca says. “I thought I could improve myself as a person and as a player. I loved the coaching staff, and they were really friendly and open and didn’t hide anything from me.”It took Drca a few months to become acclimated to Utah and the United States. Living in Serbia he had experienced war and bombings as a child, and the American way of life was “culture shock,” as he put it.Although he studied English in school, he found speaking the language to be a challenge, and during his freshman season, he shied away from media interviews.However, over the past year he has improved his English greatly, and while he still speaks ver-y care-ful-ly, he communicates just fine, even to the point of dropping words such as “criteria” into the conversation.”It’s a lot better. I feel more comfortable speaking now,” he says. “I knew the grammar from high school, but never used it before.”Drca is a chemistry major with a 3.4 GPA. He says he enjoys hanging out with his teammates and friends. But he’s not one to sit around playing video games or watching TV.”I don’t like laptops, computers or video games,” he says. “I never played them. I was always out playing soccer or other sports.”Ask Drca about the traveling calls he gets nearly every game and he perks right up.”First of all, Americans travel a lot more than we do,” he says, speaking for his fellow Europeans. “I obviously travel sometimes when I slide my feet. It’s different in Europe. American referees have different criteria. But I am working on it. The coaches remind me every day, yelling at me.”Although he plays three different positions for the Utes, Drca is a natural point guard, which he said he played “90 percent of the time” growing up.”Here, there are more guys who can score,” he says. “Players are more athletic here. My position on the team is to make plays for the other guys.”The “other guys” appreciate what Drca has brought to the Ute team.”Luka’s not the fastest guy out there, but he’s a guy who is deceptively quick,” says Johnnie Bryant. “He’s really smart and his vision is unreal. He has that ability to go and make plays.””Luka is one of the smartest basketball players I’ve ever been around,” adds Shaun Green. “He’s a really good defender. He has great court vision and knows what the rest of the team is going to do before it even happens.”So why isn’t Drca starting if he’s been so valuable to the Utes lately?Boylen says he doesn’t like to tinker with the starting lineup unless he absolutely has to and says it’s the number of minutes and who finishes the games that is most important.For now, Drca will keep being a spark off the bench, while playing 25-plus minutes a night. “I can’t wait to see him a year from now after lifting and shooting all summer,” says Boylen. “He’s going to be pretty good.”
Utah Jazz instant analysis: Jazz take control in victory over Suns Related Utah Jazz: Roughed-up Paul Millsap hurts Phoenix Suns where it counts PHOENIX — With the temperature hovering around 10 degrees in Utah the past few days, there aren’t many places better to go right now than Phoenix, where it’s in the mid-60s.However, to most of the Utah Jazz players, who are playing the Phoenix Suns tonight, it doesn’t really matter if they’re in Phoenix or Philadelphia.”I’m not really big on tanning, so it doesn’t bother me,” quipped Earl Watson, who said it might have made a difference in his younger days. “I’ve been going to Phoenix since ’97 since UCLA used to play ASU, so for me it’s just another trip.”The 34-year-old Jamaal Tinsley agreed he may have taken notice of going to Phoenix in early January when he was younger, but not any more.”We’re not worrying about the weather,” Tinsley said. “We’re going down there to win a ball game and hopefully we can go on the road and get two games.”At least Paul Millsap acknowledged it’s nice to be going to warmer weather, but added, “in 24 hours we have to head to Denver and that’s worse.”ANOTHER MAN DOWN: In the closing moments of one of his best games of the season when he had 15 points and eight rebounds, Enes Kanter suffered a sprained ankle, which kept him from practicing Thursday. He’s listed as questionable for Friday’s game.”We’ll miss him — hopefully it’s not very serious and he’ll be back soon,” said coach Tyrone Corbin. “We’ll just have to shorten the rotation and guys will have to play a few more minutes.”Corbin said because they’re playing a smaller Phoenix team, the Jazz may be able to “go small at times.” He also said Marvin Williams can play the big forward position and that Derrick Favors can play the 5 spot. Also Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap will both play likely more minutes than usual.Veteran Earl Watson doesn’t expect Kanter to be out long.”He’s about 12 years old … he should be fine by tomorrow,” he said.MURPHY IN D-LEAGUE: In 11 games with the Reno Bighorns of the NBA D-League, Jazz draftee Kevin Murphy has started nine games and is averaging 12.0 points on 43.5 shooting.With the Jazz down a man as Mo Williams is out for six weeks, Murphy would be a logical possibility to fill a roster spot. However, according to Corbin, it’s not happening soon.”We’ll look at it, but they have a showcase coming up so it will be an opportunity to get a few games under his belt and get some more looks there,” he said. “But we’ll discuss it going forward.”The four-day, 16-game annual Showcase will be Monday through Thursday in Reno. It’s an opportunity for NBA decision-makers to watch all of the D-League’s players up close and see if any are ready for the NBA.email: email@example.com Utah Jazz rally to victory, again
Utah’s Mike Weir will be playing in the U.S. Open this week after all.Weir thought he had missed his chance to play in the Open for the first time since 2010 when he was eliminated in an 11-player playoff for seven spots at the sectional qualifying in Ohio last week.However, Weir earned the first alternate spot by sinking a 20-foot putt in near-darkness and Monday was one of five alternates added to the 156-player field, which starts play at Merion GC in Pennsylvania Thursday.Weir, a resident of Sandy, will join St. George’s Jay Don Blake as another Utah player in the field. Weir has not qualified for the past two U.S.. Opens after playing in it every year for a decade.Others added to the field Monday were Kyle Stanley, who earned an exemption by moving into the Top 60 in the World rankings, and Ryan Palmer, Ryan Yip, Rikard Kalrberg and Harold Varner III, who were also first alternates in their respective sectional qualifiers.
Related At the midway mark, Utes off to best start since 2010 SALT LAKE CITY — We’re talking college football today …— The Pac-12 might not be as good as the SEC, which has four of the top five teams in the latest college football polls, but it very well may be the most exciting conference in college football.Every team in the Pac-12 has at least one loss, and in a half season, the conference already has a couple of seasons’ worth of memorable games.Of the 23 conference games played so far, 14 have been decided by a touchdown or less, including two one-point games, three two-point games, two three-point games and two four-point games. Two games were decided in overtime, and two games — Arizona over Cal and Arizona State over USC — were decided on last-second Hail Mary passes.— The North Division of the Pac-12 with Oregon and Stanford was considered the stronger of the two divisions before the start of the year, but midway through the season, the South has a 7-4 overall record against the North.— When Andy Ludwig was the Utes’ offensive coordinator back in 2005-08, he was often criticized by the Ute faithful for his offenses. Since the much-maligned Ludwig left after the unbeaten 2008 season, the Utes have tried six different offensive coordinators with much less success on offense than they had under Ludwig.In Ludwig’s four years, the average year-end national ranking for the Utes in total offense was 42, with a best of No. 12 in 2005. In the six seasons since, including this one where the Utes rank 75th, the average total offense ranking has been 79th. Not only that, every offense except one that Ludwig has directed over the past six years at Cal, San Diego State and Wisconsin has ranked higher than Utah’s.— I’m not surprised quarterback Travis Wilson is back in the saddle for the Utah football team. He’s clearly a better passer than Kendal Thompson and it seems to help Devontae Booker as a runner to have a better passing threat at QB so the defense can’t put seven or eight men in the box. Still, Wilson has to play much better than the last couple of weeks for the Utes to contend for the Pac-12 South title.— In the wake of three straight losses, some folks are wondering if BYU will even make it to six wins and become bowl eligible this season. I can’t imagine the Cougars not making it to six, unless another dozen players suffer ankle injuries in the next couple of weeks. Boise State on the road will be tough, as will Cal at the end of the year. Even Middle Tennessee State (5-3 with a week off to prepare for BYU) on the road could be a challenge, but the Cougs should win that game or UNLV (2-5) at home.As for Savannah State, the Cougars could probably play the cheerleaders and win that one. The Tigers are arguably the worst team in the FCS, finishing 1-11 in each of the last four years. They are 0-7 this year with an 83-9 loss to Georgia Southern and a 61-7 loss to Middle Tennessee so far.— Assuming the Cougars do become bowl eligible, who might they play in the brand-new Miami Beach Bowl on Dec. 22? They’ll play a team from the American Athletic Conference and they’ve already played three teams from that league this year — Houston, UCF and Connecticut, although they are unlikely to play a team they’ve already played this year. No. 18 East Carolina is likely to get a better bowl, so that leaves Temple (4-2), South Florida (3-4), Memphis (3-3) and Cincinnati (3-3) as the possible opponents. Wonder how many Cougar fans will want to travel to Miami three days before Christmas to play one of those teams?— Utah hasn’t become bowl eligible yet, but is on the verge at 5-1. The Utes seem to have endless possibilities at this point, ranging from the Rose Bowl to the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Both of those are unlikely because Utah would have to run the table to get into the Rose Bowl, one of the two national championship semifinal games, and the other matches the Mountain West and Conference USA. The six Pac-12 bowls are Las Vegas, Sun, Holiday, San Francisco, Alamo and Cactus (Tempe), but with the Pac-12 possibly getting eight or nine bowl berths, another bowl like the New Mexico Bowl or Poinsettia Bowl that doesn’t get a bowl-eligible team from assigned conferences could take a Pac-12 team.— Poor Utah State has now lost two good quarterbacks to injuries and will have to make do with senior Craig Harrison for the immediate future after Darell Garretson’s serious wrist injury in Saturday night’s loss to Colorado State. Coach Matt Wells said Garretson, who was 8-3 as a starter, may be out “for a while,” meaning the Aggies will have to go with Harrison or one of two freshmen, who are redshirting.With an upcoming schedule of UNLV, Hawaii, Wyoming, New Mexico and San Jose State (combined record 12-22) before a season-ender at Boise State, the 4-3 Aggies should eke out enough wins to get bowl eligible, even without a dynamic quarterback. The six possible bowls for the Aggies are the New Orleans Bowl, New Mexico Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl and Idaho Potato Bowl, all on Dec. 20; the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23; or the Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24. Midseason recap and awards for BYU and Utah Wilson back in the saddle as Utes’ starting quarterback
The Jazz finish their season against the two best teams in the West, at Golden State and home against San Antonio and if those two teams aren’t still competing for the top seed in the West, the Jazz may get to play against teams resting top players.Another key factor in Saturday’s game is the tiebreaker, should the two teams end up tied at the end of the regular season. If the Jazz lose to the Clips, they will lose the tiebreaker because of a 3-1 deficit in the season series, while a win would likely give the Jazz the tiebreak because of a slight edge in Western Conference games (25-18 to 24-20).JAZZ NOTES: Saturday’s game is at 12:30 PT because the Los Angeles Kings have a 7:30 game against the New York Rangers in the evening. Then the Clippers will play a rare back-to-back home game against the Sacramento Kings Sunday at 12:30 p.m. PT . . . The Jazz will return home Saturday night and play a home game against New Orleans Monday night (8:30 p.m. MT). Then it’s back on the road for a game in Sacramento, followed by a home game against Washington . . . Hood is expected to play against the Clippers, while Shelvin Mack (ankle) is questionable and Derrick Favors (knee) is out . . . Gobert still leads the NBA in blocked shots at 2.62 per game and is tied for fourth in rebounds per game with 12.8. I don’t think it makes our season if we win and I don’t think it decimates our season if we lose, but it’s important. – Jazz head coach Quin SnyderLOS ANGELES — The Dallas Mavericks did the Utah Jazz a huge favor Thursday night, coming back in the final minutes to edge the Los Angeles Clippers by two points. That gives the Jazz some breathing room in the race for the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference playoff race, but it will mean a lot more if the Jazz can knock off the Clippers Saturday afternoon (1:30 p.m. MT) at the Staples Center.Thursday’s result keeps the Jazz a game and a half ahead of the Clippers in the standings and two ahead in the loss column. A loss Saturday will cut the lead to a half game in the standings and one game in the loss column, while a win will make it two-and-a-half games and three games, respectively.So Saturday’s game is a huge one, right?Predictably, Jazz coach Quin Snyder didn’t want to make too much of the game, saying “every game we play now has significant connotations.” But he is also aware of the implications.“This game, obviously against a team we’re competitive with currently in the standings … we’re right there, the two of us,” he said. “In a lot of ways, that’s true. But I don’t think it makes our season if we win and I don’t think it decimates our season if we lose, but it’s important.”Center Rudy Gobert, who is coming off a career-high 35-point game against New York Wednesday night, echoed his coach.“Obviously we’re almost tied for the fourth seed so you can say it’s an important game,” he said. “But no matter what happens, if we lose or we win, it doesn’t define our season. We’ve still had a very good season.”Rodney Hood said, “It’s a big game for playoff implications, but we just need to get back to playing really good basketball. We need to play our best basketball ending the season, the last 10 games, so it’s a big test for us.”Looking ahead at the remaining games on the schedule, the Clippers have a slight advantage with six of eight games at home, compared to five of nine for the Jazz, which may not mean as much since the Jazz’s road record is nearly as good as their home mark.Both teams play Washington at home and San Antonio on the road. The Clippers have two home games against Sacramento, while the Jazz play the Kings on the road next week. The Clippers have a gimme home game against the woeful Lakers as well as home contests with Dallas and Houston, while the Jazz play three teams out of the playoffs in New Orleans, Portland and Minnesota at home.
Utah’s Tony Finau leads the PGA Tour in total birdies this season, but a lack of birdies in Sunday’s final round of the British Open, doomed him as he fell to a tie for 27th place at 1-over-par 281.Finau shot a final-round 71 at Royal Birkdale in his most consistent round of the week as he had 17 pars on the day. However, he couldn’t make a single birdie Sunday after making 11 during his first three rounds. Finau’s lone bogey was at the par-4 No. 13 hole.In all, it was a solid tournament for Finau, following up on last year’s tie-for-18th finish at Royal Troon as he made the cut for the fourth time in six majors.The next major for Finau will be next month at Quail Hollow Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, where fellow Utahns Daniel Summerhays and Chris Moody will join him in the field for the Aug. 10-13 tournament.