Three conference champions and Ohio State walk into a stadium...: The college football playoff is set, with the SEC, ACC, and Pac-12 represented by the winners of their championship games; the Big 12 not represented at all because they don't have a championship game; and the B1G represented by a team that wasn't in its championship game. Alabama will face Washington in the Peach Bowl, while Clemson and Ohio State will face off in the Fiesta Bowl for the right to get ritually murdered by Nick Saban.
Nico Rosberg goes out on top: Rosberg won the Formula One World Championship when he finished second at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix over the weekend. He has announced that the title was his life's ambition, and he is therefore retiring immediately from racing.
The Hot Seat is just lukewarm now: The annual firing of college football coaches got off to an early start this year with LSU's Les Miles not surviving September, but the ascension of Interim Coach Ed Orgeron tamped down a lot of the possible juggling of lower-tier coaching jobs. Ditto the rapid fire-and-hire of Charlie Strong and Tom Herman at Texas. Oregon let go of Mark Helfrich (the first time the Ducks have fired a coach since 1976), and the Notre Dame-Brian Kelly relationship is said to be strained, but it looks like there won't be a high-profile Harbaugh-to-Michigan type story to keep football writers working through December this year. (Incidentally, CoachesHotSeat.com is for sale.)
Strong Out, Herman In (probably): Charlie Strong was officially fired today as head coach of the University of Texas Longhorns, and sources immediately started saying that the contract is all but signed for Texas to hire Tom Herman, currently head coach of the University of Houston Cougars. Herman started his coaching career at UT and has been the UH coach for just two years, going 13-1 in his first season with a bowl win over Florida State.
NHL's Newest Team: The Vegas Golden Knights: That's not the Las Vegas Golden Knights, mind you. It's just "Vegas".
Jurgen Klinsmann Out as U.S. Men's Soccer Coach: The losses to Mexico and Costa Rica to start this round of World Cup qualifying have led to Jurgen Klinsmann's ouster as the U.S. Men's National Team coach. Talks are rumored about Bruce Arena leaving the L.A. Galaxy to take over the team again.
Arian Foster retires: "There comes a time in every athlete's career when their ambition and their body are no longer on the same page." With a tweet on #UNINTERRUPTED, Arian Foster has retired from football, effective immediately. Ian Rapoport reports that "it's because his heart couldn't take another rehab, even for a minor injury."
Pakistan’s National Baseball Team Just Wants You To Know They Exist: Pakistan got mercy-ruled twice at the World Baseball Classic qualifiers last week. But they consider it a successful outing.
RIP Arnold Palmer, 1929-2016: One of the all-time greats has passed.
Texas A&M takes College Football Belt: The true championship of college football is back in Texas after the Aggies of Texas A&M walloped the Razorbacks of Arkansas 45-24. The belt has now been resident in the Lone Star State for 101 of the last 103 weeks. This is A&M's second title reign after holding it for seven weeks in 1998, and its first reign as a member of the SEC. A&M's first defense will be next weekend in Columbia against permanent cross-division rival South Carolina.
Les Miles out at LSU: Louisiana State University has fired football head coach Les Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron after a loss to divisional rival Auburn dropped the Tigers to 2-2. Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron (former Ole Miss coach and former interim USC coach) will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
MACtion 'beats' Oklahoma State, but not with casualties: The Central Michigan Chippewas outscored the Oklahoma State Cowboys 30-27 on one of those great Hail Mary-lateral combos, but only because the officiating crew mistakenly gave them an untimed down after OSU QB Mason Rudolph committed an intentional grounding penalty on 4th down with no time left on the clock. The entire on-field crew (provided by the Chips' Mid-American Conference) has been suspended for two weeks, and the replay crew (provided by the Cowboys' Big 12 Conference) has been suspended for two weeks and will not be allowed to officiate a bowl game this season.
'So, letâ€™s build a pro soccer team from scratch ...': Foursquare founder (and Boston Marathon cheater) Dennis Crowley founded Kingston Stockade FC this year. It's a 4th-tier semi-pro soccer team based in slightly-upstate Hudson Valley, New York, and he did it all for about $50K. He writes about why he did this, how he went about it, and how this sort of thing will end in a U.S. Men's World Cup win.
AHL Team Soaks Portland for $34M for Arena Renovations, Leaves After Two Years: The Portland (Maine) Pirates have decided to move to Springfield, Massachusetts, breaking a five-year lease on the taxpayer-funded Cross Insurance Arena after two years. Escape clauses built into the contract limit the team's payout for breaking the lease to $100,000, which is 0.3% of the cost of the renovations.
When the Nets could have become the Swamp Dragons: In the 1990s, the New Jersey Nets asked the NBA owners for permission to change their team name to the New Jersey Swamp Dragons. The vote came back 26-1 in favor, but the 1 came from... the New Jersey Nets.
NFL Divisional Round Produces Predictable Results: The #1 and #2 seeds in both the NFC and AFC have advanced to the conference championships for the first time since the 2004-05 season. The NFC title game pits the Arizona Cardinals (the oldest team in the NFL) against the Carolina Panthers (the most recent expansion team that wasn't a replacement franchise) in each team's quest for its first Super Bowl victory after being in one apiece. On the AFC side, the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos will meet to see which first-ballot-HOF quarterback will go to Santa Clara.
Kobe Bryant announces retirement: Kobe Bryant -- 5-time NBA champion, 17-time All-Star, 3rd on the list of all-time scorers in the regular season and postseason, unconvicted but all-but-admitted rapist -- has announced his retirement via a poem on the Players' Tribune.
College Football Belt Backlog: The definitive (I believe) trail from Rutgers-Princeton 1869 to Nebraska-Alabama 1972, this proves that the College Football Belt site starts with the right team. This is how bored I was at work today. Starting at the first recognized college football game (Rutgers vs. Princeton, November 6th, 1869) and using the nearly complete records on SportsReference.com, I traced the lineal College Football Belt through the 1972 Orange Bowl, after which point the good people at College Football Belt start up.
Al Golden Out at Miami: After suffering the worst loss in school history, the University of Miami has relieved head coach Al Golden of duties, effective immediately.
Chargers Will Apply to Move to L.A.: The San Diego Chargers have declared their intention to relocate to Los Angeles for the 2016 season, expressly to get the jump on a potential Raiders or Rams move.
The Hot Seat: The college football head coach carousel is starting to claim victims, with Maryland's Randy Edsall getting the boot after a 2-4 start (and losing that fourth one after it was already an open secret that he was gone), North Texas's Dan McCarney getting the boot after the worst FBS loss to an FCS team in history, Rutgers' Kyle Flood's three-game suspension probably going permanent at some point, and USC's Steve Sarkisian very likely gone pending a temporary leave of absence to deal with alcohol issues.
Tokyo 2020 Committee Releases Short List of New Sports: Eight sports are in line for addition to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics: baseball/softball, bowling, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, surfing, wushu, and karate. Tokyo 2020 organizers will make their recommendation this September, with the IOC making its final decision next August. The list of non-recommended sports was a vast one: air sports, bowls, bridge, chess, dance sport, floorball, flying disc, football, korfball, netball, orienteering, polo, racquetball, sumo, tug of war, underwater sports and waterski and wakeboard.
Patriots crush Colts in the rain: Foul weather didn't slow down Tom Brady and the Patriots as they beat Andrew Luck and the Colts 45-7 (the second worst drubbing in AFC Championship history). This will be the Pats' 8th Super Bowl trip, tying them for the record with the Steelers and the Cowboys; and Brady's and Bill Belichick's 6th, tying them with Mike Lodish (player) and Don Shula (coach).
Ducks v. Bucks in Arlington: The post-BCS era started with a firm (if unintentional) repudiation of the BCS, as defending national champion Florida State was embarrassed by perennial bridesmaid Oregon and defending-minus-one (and -minus-two) champ Alabama was beaten by perennial SEC victim Ohio State.