College football’s biggest November storylines, by conference

first_imgMORE: LSU in envious Playoff position after win over AuburnSEC: Will LSU and Alabama both get in?We have the stage for a regular-season “Game of the Century” on Nov. 9 between undefeated LSU and Alabama — the first of its kind since the two teams met in a 9-6 fistfight in 2011. With LSU’s Joe Burrow — and hopefully Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa — the best-case scenario for both teams is to live up to the game of the year billing in a shootout where both quarterbacks shine. The winner goes on to win the SEC championship. The loser has the best 11-1 record in the country and snags the final Playoff spot. Don’t think it can happen? The BCS found a way to squeeze Oklahoma State out in 2011 to let the Crimson Tide and Tigers play in a second rock fight. Alabama got in without winning its division again in 2017. The Tide won the national championship in both seasons. There’s no reason to suggest it can’t happen again, with some help.Group of 5: App State or SMU? Take your pickAppalachian State and SMU are the lone unbeaten teams among the Group of 5, and either one would generate an intriguing storyline with an unbeaten season. The Mountaineers, of course, made the climb from FCS powerhouse to Sun Belt champion, and this would be their biggest stage since beating Michigan at The Big House since 2007. Could App State pull the same trick in a New Year’s Day 6 bowl against an SEC powerhouse? SMU has a tougher road in the American Athletic Conference and would have the inside track with an unbeaten season. The Mustangs — the only program in FBS history to be given the “Death Penalty” — would be back on that stage for the first time since the “Pony Express.” Sonny Dykes might get another shot in the Power 5 as a result. This would be a redemption story worth following. MORE: SN Week 10 college football rankingsDon’t just assume the chalk will hold throughout November; Oklahoma’s shocking 48-41 loss to Kansas State on Saturday proved that anything can happen.With that, looking at the biggest storyline for each of the Power 5 conferences — and Group of 5 — heading into November.ACC: Will Clemson avoid disaster?Imagine being the defending national champion — one that happens to be on a 23-game win streak — and still being held to an undefeated-or-else-standard with the rest of the FBS. That is the predicament for Clemson, and that’s mostly a byproduct of a conference that can’t cobble together a worthy challenger out of the ACC Coastal. The Tigers must mow through Wofford, N.C. State, Wake Forest and South Carolina — which pulled an upset against Georgia — before the ACC championship against what could be a three-, four- or five-loss Coastal champion. Clemson has no choice but to run that winning streak up to 28 if it wants to be guaranteed a spot in the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma’s loss certainly helped. Speaking of the Big 12. …Big 12: Can Baylor (yes, Baylor) carry the banner?Oklahoma’s 48-41 loss to Kansas State was devastating for the conference’s Playoff hopes. Even if the Sooners were to run the table from here on out, would that be enough to make the committee forget it was once down 48-23 to the Wildcats? It’s not an easy question to answer. Preseason darling Texas has three losses, so the possibility of the Sooners and Longhorns having a rematch in the Big 12 championship game doesn’t have as much shine as last season. That leaves Baylor as the lone unbeaten team in the conference, and the Bears face the Sooners and Longhorns in the final month of the season. If Baylor was able to sweep those two and win the Big 12 championship, then would the committee be willing to turn away an unbeaten Power 5 conference team? Remember, the Bears finished No. 5 in 2014 with one loss.MORE: Week 10 College Football Playoff pictureBig Ten: Will Ohio State close the deal?The Buckeyes have a strong case to the No. 1 team in the country right now. Ohio State is the only team with a point differential better than 300 after outscoring its opponents 386-63. They have three viable Heisman candidates among Justin Fields, J.K. Dobbins and Chase Young, and Ryan Day has yet to lose a game as head coach. The Buckeyes also have two huge games to keep that focus with Penn State and Michigan in the final two weeks of the season. Urban Meyer was 13-1 against those teams, and those will be the big-money games for Day. Ohio State has been left out of the Playoff each of the last two seasons with one loss. This team knows that, and there are no indications it will place itself in a similar scenario. If the Buckeyes finish 13-0, then there is a decent chance they will be the No.1 seed in the final College Football Playoff rankings.Pac-12: What’s the fallout from Oregon-USC?The biggest game remaining on the Pac-12 schedule is Oregon at USC on Saturday. The Ducks remain the conference’s best bet to claw back into the Playoff argument, and the regular-season matchup against a reeling USC is their best remaining game. Oregon needs to win that one, and by a lot, before running the table and beating Utah in the Pac-12 championship game. As for USC: Could Clay Helton beat Oregon and Utah to take the conference’s Playoff hopes with him if the Trojans show him the door? It would prove the national narrative on the conference remains a talking point for another season. October is in the books, and there are five November weeks left in the college football season. Those five weeks will shape the course of the conference championship and College Football Playoff hunts, and the anticipation is building toward the first unveiling of Playoff rankings on Nov. 5.That said, each Power 5 conference faces at least one question that, for better or worse, will be answered heading into the final leg of the season.last_img read more

Trump administration urges end to ACA as pandemic surges

first_imgFILE – This file image provided by U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service shows the website for HealthCare.gov. Close to half a million people who lost their health insurance amid the economic shutdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 have gotten coverage through HealthCare.gov, the government reported Thursday, June 25, 2020. (U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service via AP, File)WASHINGTON  | As coronavirus cases rise in more than half of the states, the Trump administration is urging the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act.The administration’s high court filing Thursday came the same day the government reported that close to half a million people who lost their health insurance amid the economic shutdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 have gotten coverage through HealthCare.gov.The administration’s legal brief makes no mention of the virus.More than 20 million Americans could lose their health coverage and protections for people with preexisting health conditions also would be put at risk if the court agrees with the administration in a case that won’t be heard before the fall.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted the administration’s latest move in a partisan battle over “Obamacare” that has stretched on for a full decade since the law’s passage in 2010. Pelosi is planning a floor vote early next week on her own bill to expand the ACA.“There is no legal justification and no moral excuse for the Trump administration’s disastrous efforts to take away Americans’ health care,” she said in a statement.Just as the nation seemed to be getting better control over the virus outbreak, states including Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Texas are reporting a surge in cases. And more than half the states are seeing case increases.Anger over problems with “Obamacare” was once a winning issue for Republicans, helping them gain control of the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014. But the politics of the issue flipped after President Donald Trump failed to deliver in 2017 on his vow to “repeal and replace” the health law. Democrats were energized by their successful defense of the ACA, and that contributed to their winning back the House.In the case before the Supreme Court, Texas and other conservative-led states argue that the ACA was essentially rendered unconstitutional after Congress passed tax legislation in 2017 that eliminated the law’s unpopular fines for not having health insurance, but left in place its requirement that virtually all Americans have coverage.Trump has put the weight of his administration behind the legal challenge.If the health insurance requirement is invalidated, “then it necessarily follows that the rest of the ACA must also fall,” Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote Thursday.Other prominent Republicans, including Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, have said Congress didn’t intend to bring down the whole law by striking the coverage penalty.The Trump administration’s views on what parts of the ACA might be kept or replaced if the law is overturned have shifted over time. But in legal arguments, it has always supported getting rid of “Obamacare” provisions that prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against people on account of their medical history.Nonetheless, Trump has repeatedly assured Americans that people with preexisting conditions would still be protected. Neither the White House nor congressional Republicans have specified how.The government report showing rising sign-ups for health coverage under the ACA amid the coronavirus shutdown came from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The figures are partial because they don’t include sign-ups from states that run their own health insurance marketplaces. Major states like California and New York are not counted in the federal statistics.An estimated 27 million people may have lost job-based coverage due to layoffs, and it’s unclear what — if anything — they’re turning to as a fallback. People who lose employer health care are eligible for a special sign-up period for subsidized plans under the Obama-era law. Many may also qualify for Medicaid.The Trump administration has been criticized for not doing as much as states like California to publicize these readily available backups. In response, administration officials say they have updated the HealthCare.gov website to make it easier for consumers to find information on special sign-up periods.Thursday’s report from the government showed that about 487,000 people signed up with HealthCare.gov after losing their workplace coverage this year. That’s an increase of 46% from the same time period last year.It’s unclear from the government numbers how many of the new enrollees lost their coverage because of layoffs due to the pandemic. CMS also made no estimate of how many people will ultimately seek coverage through the Obama health law as a result of economic shock waves. Generally there’s a 60-day window to apply after losing coverage.However, the report found a clear connection. “While the magnitude may be unclear, job losses due to COVID-19have led to increased enrollments on HealthCare.gov,” it said.last_img read more

Felipe Rivero finalizes $22M, 4-year deal with Pirates

first_img“They were saying they wanted to keep them,” the Pirates closer said. “Tough to see two of the best guys leave.”Rivero, however, doesn’t appear likely to follow them out of Pittsburgh. The hard-throwing left-handed reliever finalized a $22 million, four-year contract on Thursday, a deal that includes two club options and could be worth $41 million over six seasons. The 26-year-old, acquired in a trade deadline deal with Washington in 2016, receives a $2 million signing bonus and agreed to a deal that covers his arbitration-eligible years, giving him peace of mind.“I want to be relaxed the next few years and not have arbitration cases,” Rivero said. “I just want to help the team as much as I can right now.”Rivero took over as Pittsburgh’s closer last May and went 5-3 with a 1.67 ERA while converting 21 of 23 save opportunities and striking out 88 batters in 75 1/3 innings. Rivero let his sister work in concert with his agent during negotiations, adamant he wanted to remain with the Pirates.“When I got traded they … tried to make you feel like you’re at home,” Rivero said. “That’s why I wanted to stay for a few more years.”General manager Neal Huntington said the team was “humbled” by Rivero’s decision, adding the cost certainty of the deal means the Pirates can move forward with confidence knowing one of the few bright spots from a mostly forgettable 2017 is in place through the end of this decade and the beginning of the next.“It frees him up to just go pitch, frees him up to just go do his thing,” Huntington said. “He doesn’t have to worry about a lot of the things that players worry about.”Rivero sent out a handful of curious tweets on Monday, when the Pirates sent McCutchen to the San Francisco Giants . Huntington said Rivero next expressed any reluctance to sign the contract and downplayed the idea Pittsburgh is intent on bottoming out before trying to return to the heights of 2013-15 when the franchise reached the playoffs three consecutive years.“This gives us the opportunity to build a bullpen around him, build a club around him and put our best foot forward to compete and do everything we can to win ballgames in ’18, ’19 and beyond,” said Huntington, who called the idea the Pirates will get worse before they get better a “false narrative.”Either way, Rivero will be along for the ride. He’ll make $2.5 million this season, $4 million in 2019, $5.25 million in 2020 and $7.25 million in 2021. The Pirates have a $10 million option for 2022 with a $1 million buyout and a $10 million option for 2023 with a $500,000 buyout. Rivero laughed when asked if he planned to celebrate by going out for some paintball, one of his favorite pastimes, at least until Thursday.“I kind of want to but going to start staying safe right now,” he said. “Going to stop doing crazy things.”___More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball PITTSBURGH (AP) — Felipe Rivero admits he was a little surprised when Pittsburgh Pirates parted with established stars Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen over the last week, part of a roster reset the club insists is not to be confused with an actual rebuild. Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Felipe Rivero (73) reacts to the final out during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Chicago, on Friday, April 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Haynes)last_img read more

NBA: Dirk Nowitzki signs 1-year, $5 million deal to play record 21st season with…

first_imgAdvertisement 8ziNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vs5otWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Eclk( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 77vWould you ever consider trying this?😱zbmsCan your students do this? 🌚1iftRoller skating! Powered by Firework The Dallas Mavericks have re-signed Dirk Nowitzki, which will make the German star the first player in NBA history to play 21 straight seasons with the same team.Advertisement The franchise icon signed a one-year contract worth $5 million on Monday. The news was confirmed by a source earlier in the day and the Mavericks announced the signing shortly before 11 a.m.Advertisement In the next season, Nowitzki will also be a teammate of reigning EuroLeague MVP Luka Doncic who has already expressed his excitement ahead of playing alongside the legendary German forward.Nowitzki will become the first player in NBA history to play 21 consecutive seasons with the same organization. It is believed this will be his final season, but Nowitzki has been careful not to mention it.Advertisement Nowitzki averaged 12 points and 5.7 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game last season. Nowitzki, who turned 40 last month, is the league’s only international player with more than 30,000 career points. Advertisementlast_img read more