Sport USA TODAY Sports midseason college football awards
Meet the eight key figures who helped make the NBA bubble a success
When an NBA bubble idea was floated, commissioner Adam Silver was skeptical. Meet key figures who collaborated to make the bubble safe and COVID-free.“When the idea was first broached, it didn’t sound logistically realistic,” Silver said.
Only in 2020 would college football's midseason hit as one Power Five conference has played a single game and another league is more than a week away from kickoff.
While the Big Ten just got started and the Pac-12 won't open until Nov. 7, the 2020 season began Sept. 5 and has heated up since the SEC opened on Sept. 26.
Despite the odd and mismatched schedules across Bowl Subdivision leagues, one aspect of the season has gone according to plan: Alabama and Clemson have carved out some distance from the rest of pack in the early College Football Playoff race.
Braves break it open with 6-run inning, knock out Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers to move one win from World Series
The Braves scored six runs in the sixth inning en route to a 10-2 victory to beat Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers in Game 4 of the NLCS.Their paths crossed on a windswept Thursday night at Globe Life Field, and little could Kershaw imagine his October nightmares would be extended by such an unlikely adversary.
Also predictable? That Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence would head into Halloween as the favorite for the Heisman.
As we reach the midway point, here's a look at the players, teams, coaches and games that have defined the first half of the 2020 season.
Paul Myerberg: Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence. He's completing 70.7% of his attempts, averaging 9.6 yards per throw and avoiding turnovers (two interceptions in 191 throws) at a better rate than in 2019. This is an easy pick.
Erick Smith: Alabama QB Mac Jones. Any thought that the Crimson Tide offense would be slowed by the departure of Tua Tagovailoa can be discarded. It might actually be better with Jones off to an amazing start. The junior threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns against an elite Georgia defense in a comeback win. He ranks third in passing yards and passer efficiency.
Fantasy football waiver wire: Eagles' Boston Scott poised to assume starting role in Week 7
Likely absence of starter Miles Sanders makes Boston Scott the top addition to Week 7 fantasy rosters; WR Keelan Cole offers consistent production.Unless they've been dropped a few weeks ago by panicky fantasy GMs, high-upside players who have the potential to be long-term starters just aren't out there. Le'Veon Bell's value certainly jumped after the Kansas City Chiefs picked him up, but he's unlikely to be available in most leagues.
Coach of the year
Paul Myerberg: Luke Fickell, Cincinnati. Fickell turned down the chance to take over at Michigan State in part because he knew what the No. 7 Bearcats were capable of achieving in 2020. Cincinnati already has two wins against Top 25 competition and have a shot at rising into the top four.
Erick Smith: Chris Klieman, Kansas State: With a roster devastated by COVID-19, the Wildcats lost their opener against Arkansas State. Two weeks later, they rallied to beat Oklahoma. That was the first of four Big 12 victories in a row. His next challenge will be overcoming the loss of starting quarterback Skylar Thompson and make the conference title game.
Paul Myerberg: Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. The senior has made splash plays for one of the nation's best defenses and a unit already being compared to some of the best in recent program history. He's second on the team with 21 tackles and leads with six tackles for loss.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones laments 'glaring difference' between Dak Prescott, Andy Dalton
Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy and RB Ezekiel Elliott break down the Cowboys' Week 6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Erick Smith: Arkansas LB Grant Morgan. The Razorbacks have been one of the stories of the season. Their former walk-on linebacker has spearheaded an improved defense with team-high 52 tackles in four games and added an interception.
Paul Myerberg: Clemson DT Bryan Bresee. The nation's top-ranked recruit has exceeded expectations. One of two five-star freshmen on Clemson's defensive front, Bresee is physically ready to earn all-conference honors and play a key role in the Tigers' push for the national championship.
Erick Smith: Kansas State RB Deuce Vaughn. Small in stature, Vaughn has been huge in his impact for the Wildcats, who are at the top of the Big 12 standings. He has totaled 319 yards and four touchdowns on the ground and 360 yards on 13 catches. A pair of his big plays helped rally the Wildcats on the road in their upset of Oklahoma.
Best first-year coach
Paul Myerberg: Sam Pittman, Arkansas and Greg Schiano, Rutgers. There are so many options beyond this pair: Missouri's Eli Drinkwitz, Boston College's Jeff Hafley and Texas-San Antonio's Jeff Traylor were also considered. But Arkansas is a surprising 2-2 (and probably should be 3-1) and it took only one game for Schiano to end Rutgers' long conference losing streak.
Ezekiel Elliott takes blame for fumbles, Cowboys' blowout loss: 'I want to say I'm sorry'
Ezekiel Elliott said he let his Cowboys teammates down by losing two fumbles for the first time his career in Monday's loss to the Cardinals.At this late hour, it wasn’t the ball.
Erick Smith: Sam Pittman, Arkansas. It's hard to overstate the impact that Pittman has in his first year with the Razorbacks. Even without a full offseason of practices, they led Georgia at halftime of their opener and snapped a 20-game losing streak in the SEC the following week. Only an incorrect referee decision stopped them from an upset at Auburn and 3-1 start.
Game of the year
Paul Myerberg: Indiana-Penn State is still fresh in our minds. The touchdown and two-point conversion to force overtime. Indiana scoring in the bottom of the first extra frame and opting to go for the win. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. scrambling to his left, diving and just breaking the plane of the end zone to give the Hoosiers a win against a top-10 opponent for the first time since 1987.
Erick Smith: Oklahoma-Texas is always going to be emotional. This year's edition, though, outdid itself. The Sooners looked to be on their way to a comfortable win midway through the fourth quarter. Then Sam Ehlinger rallied the Longhorns and forced overtime with two late scores. Momentum would swing in the four overtimes with each team seemingly on the brink of winning before Oklahoma intercepted Ehlinger to end things.
Paul Myerberg: The Sun Belt. The league beat three Big 12 teams in one weekend. One Sun Belt team, No. 21 Coastal Carolina, is currently in the Top 25, and another two, Louisiana and Appalachian State, have been ranked at some point this season. Always overlooked and ranked at the bottom of the Group of Five, the Sun Belt has been one of the best stories of the 2020 season.
Opinion: MLB's season of sacrifice amid pandemic ends with galling breach of protocol by Justin Turner
Justin Turner was removed from Game 6 of World Series because of a positive COVID-19 test. Then, he returned to field to celebrate the championship.For 58 days, Major League Baseball avoided a positive coronavirus test among its hundreds of players. As the playoffs unfolded, the player pool shrank and its teams were shuffled into luxe isolation, the protocols and the logistics and the myriad sacrifices that went into staging this unprecedented season built a kind of momentum that made the whole operation seem invulnerable.
Erick Smith: Brigham Young. The Cougars have been dominant in six victories to start their season, putting them at No. 10 in the Amway Coaches Poll and in position to earn a spot in the New Year's Six. Junior quarterback Zach Wilson has gone from obscurity to dark horse Heisman candidate. Only Boise State and San Diego State appear capable of slowing BYU down.
Paul Myerberg: The Big 12. Did I mention the conference lost three games to the Sun Belt on a single Saturday? Oklahoma and Texas are already out, Iowa State has two losses, Baylor has taken a step back and the league is pinning almost all of its playoff hopes on No. 6 Oklahoma State. That was not expected.
Erick Smith: LSU. Yeah, the Tigers weren't going to be the same as last season's dominant title winners. But watching their defense implode in losses to Mississippi State and Missouri was startling. Perhaps last week's win against South Carolina gets them refocused. They appear a long way away from title contenders in the SEC West.
Best four teams
Paul Myerberg: Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame. The first three are easy. The fourth is more complicated. While Notre Dame wouldn't have been pick a week ago, last Saturday's 45-3 win against Pittsburgh showed the Irish at their best.
Erick Smith: Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia. You can argue about the order of the first three. Part of the issue with Clemson is whether it is being tested enough on a weekly basis. The last spot is up in the air for now. Georgia did lose to Alabama but led on the road for three quarters. Notre Dame and Cincinnati are worthy of consideration.
Tony La Russa named Chicago White Sox manager
Tony La Russa named Chicago White Sox manager
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
Iowa WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette arrested for operating while intoxicated after Northwestern loss .
Iowa star WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette was arrested for operating while intoxicated hour after a career-high seven catches in a 21-20 loss to Northwestern.Smith-Marsette, 21, was pulled over at 1:27 a.m. by Iowa City Police and later jailed. KCJJ Radio in Iowa City first reported the arrest.