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    Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio State and UCF make playoff case

    1:00 AM ET ESPN staff Alabama will be in. So will Clemson and, almost assuredly, Notre Dame. Who will take the fourth spot in the College Football Playoff? Several teams have a claim on inclusion, and they weren’t shy about making that case on Saturday. Here’s what they said, in order of current CFP ranking. No. 4 Georgia BulldogsSaturday result: 35-28 loss to No. 1 Alabama in SEC title gameFinal record: 11-2 Unlike the other teams on this list, Georgia doesn’t have a conference title. And it’s the only one with two losses. So the case for Georgia would come down to the eye test. The Bulldogs lost to No.…

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    Kyle Whittingham of Utah irked at officiating in Pac-12 title game

    3:19 AM ET Joel AndersonESPN SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham could barely contain his anger about the officiating following Friday night’s 10-3 loss to Washington in the Pac-12 championship game. Much of his ire was directed at a disputed non-call on the Utes’ final play of the game. With less than a minute left, Huskies cornerback Byron Murphy appeared to run into Utah receiver Siaosi Mariner prematurely while breaking up a pass on fourth-and-12 from the Washington 42. But officials didn’t throw a flag, and the Huskies burned off the rest of the clock to clinch their first Rose Bowl berth in 17 years. Whittingham could…

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    Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James battling when to defer or dominate

    LOS ANGELES — If it seems as if LeBron James has been shouldering a disproportionate part of the load for the Los Angeles Lakers so far this season, that’s because he has. The four-time MVP admitted after Thursday’s 104-96 win over the Indiana Pacers that he has struggled with striking the right balance between initiating the attack and relying on his teammates to take over. Magic Johnson reiterated the Lakers will continue to lighten LeBron James’ load compared to how he was utilized in Cleveland. It was just a coincidence that Denzel Washington met with the Lakers after a second straight loss, but his pep talk may have paid dividends…

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    Player whose death Irish amateur club falsely reported will not press charges

    Fernando Lafuente is alive and well after being falsely reported dead. Ian Walton/Getty Images A footballer whose death was falsely reported by his former club, Ballybrack FC, will not press charges and has claimed the amateur side from Dublin did it in order to get a game postponed. Ballybrack, who play in the Leinster Senior League (LSL) in Ireland, announced that Fernando Lafuente had died on Thursday. Their game against Arklow Town on Saturday was postponed and a minute’s silence was held by other teams before their fixtures. Lafuente, 29, played for Ballybrack FC last season and was no longer with the club after moving to Galway where he works in…

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    Chris Mack’s Louisville Cardinals signature win over Michigan State Spartans overtime

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The signs were eerily similar for Louisville: led for most of the game; made a couple of mistakes down the stretch; the game went into overtime. On Friday against Marquette, it ended in a loss. Ryan McMahon made two free throws with 7.1 seconds remaining in overtime before Jordan Nwora made another from the line with 3.1 seconds left to seal it as Louisville upset No. 9 Michigan State 82-78 on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. As Tuesday’s game against Michigan State entered the extra session, Chris Mack looked at his Cardinals players and reminded them of what happened four days earlier. “I specifically talked…

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    Mike Krzyzewski chides Duke Blue Devils fans — ‘Let’s not get spoiled’

    DURHAM, N.C. — In the aftermath of Duke’s first loss of the season last weekend, Mike Krzyzewski is asking fans to dial back the hype that has surrounded the Blue Devils‘ start to the season and appreciate the growing pains for a still raw group of freshmen. “Let’s get real about this whole thing,” Krzyzewski said. “Let’s not get spoiled. We’ve got four 19-year-old kids that are busting their ass trying to learn how to play and have a lot of pressure on them.” Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones were all top-10 recruits, and the early results have been exceptional. After Duke fell to Gonzaga last…

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    Duke turns up the defense against Indiana

    DURHAM, N.C. — The windmill dunk will be what everyone will remember. Zion Williamson‘s prowess around the rim is always the headliner. But before Duke’s sensational freshman had nine guys on the court and the entirety of Cameron Indoor Stadium waiting with bated breath for the finish, Williamson jumped a pass, tipped the ball away from Indiana’s Evan Fitzner and pushed it up the court to set up the fireworks. This is what coach Mike Krzyzewski had spent the past few days preaching. “He didn’t talk anything about offense,” Cam Reddish said about the run-up to Tuesday’s dominant 90-69 win over Indiana. “He said defend, rebound and talk. That was…

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    the best attacking trios in football

    “Two’s company, three’s a crowd” is the cliché, but when it comes to football, three might be the magic number. We look at the game’s most potent trios and what makes each of them so brilliant. Liverpool: The kings of open space This terrific threesome thrives on open space and they are at their peak when afforded room to run and attack in behind a hastily retreating defence. They fit the high-press ideals of their boss, Jurgen Klopp, and are equipped to exploit even the most innocuous change of possession. What makes Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane so deadly is their blistering pace and conviction when in possession.…

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    Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette loses appeal

    Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette lost the appeal of his one-game suspension and will miss Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Fournette was suspended following his ejection for fighting with Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson on Sunday. Leonard Fournette, who was ejected for fighting with Buffalo Bills DE Shaq Lawson on Sunday, appealed his one-game suspension, but his appeal was denied. AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes The NFL said Fournette violated its unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness rules. Lawson was also ejected after the incident in Buffalo’s 24-21 win, but no discipline was announced. Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said Monday that he spoke with…