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College football Week 12 preview: Michael Penix Jr, Washington travel to Oregon State in Pac-12 clash



College football Week 12 preview: Michael Penix Jr, Washington travel to Oregon State in Pac-12 clash

With just two weeks left of the 2023 college football season, there is still potential for absolute chaos in the College Football Playoff (CFP). 

With each of the Power Five conferences having one team – and some two – that can make a case for the CFP this late in the year, the potential for hard feelings is a real possibility. 

Bo Nix, #10 of the Oregon Ducks, celebrates a touchdown pass in the first half during a game against the USC Trojans at Autzen Stadium on Nov. 11, 2023 in Eugene, Oregon. (Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images)

In the Pac-12, Oregon and Washington both have paths to the CFP, while the SEC still has undefeated Georgia and a one-loss Alabama looking better with each week. The Big 12 has one-loss Texas, which has the advantage of beating the Crimson Tide in Week 2, and Florida State remains the ACC’s only hope of a playoff team as they look to finish the year undefeated.



The Big Ten has undefeated Michigan and Ohio State, which will square off in Week 13 with the Big Ten East title on the line. 

Chaos could be coming to college football, but the Week 12 slate may not be the one to create it. 

Let’s take a look at a few games to be aware of on Saturday. The CFP rankings are reflected below.

No. 17 Arizona vs No. 22 Utah – 2:30 p.m. ET

While the matchup in Tucson, Arizona, will have no impact on the CFP, it is still a game worth tuning into. 

The Wildcats have won four games in a row – including three straight wins over top-25 teams – after defeating Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes in Week 11. 


Head coach Jedd Fisch has quickly turned around a program that won just one game in his first season and now has his Wildcats ranked for the first time since 2017.

Arizona is getting it done with quarterback Noah Fifita, who has now thrown for 16 touchdowns and four interceptions on the year. 

Noah Fifita plays against Colorado

Arizona Wildcats quarterback Noah Fifita, #1, rolls back in the pocket against the Colorado Buffaloes in the fourth quarter at Folsom Field on Nov. 11, 2023 in Boulder, Colorado. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)


Utah enters Saturday’s contest losers of two of their last three games after battling Washington down to the wire in Week 11. 

Despite allowing 457 total yards to the Huskies, the Utes defense is still second in the Pac-12 in yards allowed (299.8) and third in points allowed per game (17.8). 


No. 18 Tennessee vs No. 1 Georgia – 3:30 p.m. ET

Last season, the game between Georgia and Tennessee was for all the marbles as both teams entered the game undefeated. 

The 2023 matchup does not carry the same weight, but Tennessee does have a chance to play spoiler. 

The Vols are coming off a bad loss to Missouri, losing 36-7, as the Vols turned the ball over three times. Josh Heupel’s team, one of the best rushing attacks in the country, rushed for just 83 yards against Missouri. 

Josh Heupel before playing Missouri

Tennessee Volunteers head coach Josh Heupel before an SEC football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Missouri Tigers on Nov 11, 2023 at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri. (Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

They now welcome the second-best rushing defense in the SEC to Neyland Stadium. 

The Bulldogs are again at the top of the CFP rankings after back-to-back wins over top-15 opponents. 



Against No. 9 Ole Miss on Saturday, Georgia racked up 611 yards – 300 on the ground and 311 through the air. Their win vaulted them over Ohio State in the College Football Playoff rankings and is the 27th straight victory for Kirby Smart’s team

Kirby Smart looks on before playing Ole Miss

Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart looks on prior to the college football game between the Ole Miss Rebels and the Georgia Bulldogs on Nov. 11, 2023, at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. (Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Bulldogs have won six straight against Tennessee and the last three games at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.

“The setup of the stadium is unique. It’s really vertical,” Smart said Wednesday on the SEC coaches teleconference, according to Knoxville News Sentinel. “It feels like they’re right on top of you. It’s right there on you. A lot of fans, very passionate fans. And that makes it tough.”

No. 11 Oregon State vs No. 5 Washington – 7:30 p.m. ET

The marquee matchup of the weekend takes place in Corvallis, Oregon. 


Washington can secure a berth in the Pac-12 title game with a win, while Oregon State needs to win out and have Arizona lose one of its final two games in order to play in Las Vegas. 

It is a matchup between two very good quarterbacks in Michael Penix Jr. and DJ Uiagalelei. 

Michael Penix Jr. plays against Utah

Michael Penix Jr., #9 of the Washington Huskies, in action during the fourth quarter against the Utah Utes at Husky Stadium on Nov. 11, 2023 in Seattle. The Washington Huskies won 35-28. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

Penix has the second-best odds of winning the Heisman, while Uiagalelei has thrown for 20 touchdowns and just four interceptions in his first season with Oregon State. 

Washington’s explosive offense will be on display against an Oregon State defense that allowed 40 points to Cal and 38 points to Washington State earlier in the year. The Huskies average 503.9 yards and 378 yards per game through the air, which is the best in the country. The Beavers defense allows 331.1 yards per game, fourth-best in the Pac-12. 


For the Beavers, running back Damien Martinez has rushed for 1,024 yards and seven touchdowns on the year, and scored a school-record four touchdowns against Stanford in Week 11. 

A view of Reser Stadium

An overhead interior view of Reser Stadium during the first half of game between the Oregon State Beavers and the San Diego State Aztecs at Reser Stadium on Sept. 16, 2023 in Corvallis, Oregon. (Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

“Oregon State still has an opportunity, if they win out, to get in the way I see it, knowing that they are going to bring everything they got,” Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer said, according to CBS Sports. “They are playing at home and they are playing well and they have good momentum and we are realizing we are going to get their best shot.”

Saturday will be the 107th meeting between the two schools.

Iowa State vs No. 7 Texas – 8 p.m. ET

Texas is set to depart the Big 12 after the season as they take their athletic programs to the SEC. 

The move has obviously caused the remaining Big 12 teams to circle their calendars for when they play the Longhorns, and the 6-4 Cyclones are no different. 


On Tuesday, Iowa State offensive lineman Jarrod Hufford kicked off Texas week by pouring some gas on the fire. 

“It’s going to be one heck of a farewell present,” Hofford noted, according to Outkick. “They are going to come in here on senior night in the dark. I don’t think they really know what is going to be coming for them. We’ve beaten them four out of the last five times at home. They don’t have a good record here. We have a very diss-taste in our mouth for them, definitely want to send them off to the SEC with a loss on our end.

Jarrod Hufford plays against Cincinnati

Iowa State OL Jarrod Hufford, #54, during a college football game between the Iowa State Cyclones and Cincinnati Bearcats on Oct. 14, 2023 at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati. (James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“Ever since I got here, it’s Iowa and Texas. That program, much like Oklahoma, they get all the 5-star recruits and have all the nicest stuff in the world and they just think they don’t stink. Just humans and that’s how I see them. They’re just people that have such a high ego that needs to be checked.”

Hofford was almost correct in his assessment. Iowa State has beaten Texas three of the last four times they have played at Jack Trice Stadium. 


However, this is the best Texas team under head coach Steve Sarkisian, who has his Longhorns in the CFP mix. 

Quinn Ewers passes against TCU

Texas Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers, #3, looks to pass during a game between the Texas Longhorns and TCU Horned Frogs college football game on Nov. 11, 2023 at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. (Chris Leduc/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Texas is second in the Big 12 in yards allowed per game (337.1) behind only Iowa State, who will be looking to slow down Quinn Ewers and the Texas offense. Ewers returned last week from a shoulder injury as Texas held off TCU on the road. 

“It’s getting better every day,” said Ewers. “I’m just going to keep getting treatment and keep rolling.”

While Texas escaped Fort Worth with a win, it did not get the victory without taking a major hit. 

Star running back Jonathon Brooks tore his ACL and is out for the season. Brooks led Texas with 1,139 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns and was seventh in the country in yards per game (113.9). 


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Austin Reaves’ three-pointer lifts Lakers past the Phoenix Suns for a trip to Vegas



Austin Reaves’ three-pointer lifts Lakers past the Phoenix Suns for a trip to Vegas

The joke, publicly and privately, among the Lakers leading up to and during the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament was the amazement at how badly a room of rich people could want to win the $500,000 prize waiting for each winning player in Las Vegas.

“The bag,” they said was an amazing motivator, the kind that could turn pre-Christmas, regular-season basketball into something that rivaled postseason energy and intensity.

But there was one other driving factor, the biggest competitors on earth all pushing to be the first.

Tuesday night in the quarterfinals, a game that would end or extend the Lakers’ time in the tournament, Austin Reaves’ three-pointer with 15 seconds left pushed them to a 106-103 win over the Phoenix Suns at Arena. The Lakers will play the New Orleans Pelicans in Las Vegas on Thursday at 6 p.m. PST, two wins away from the grand prize. The Milwaukee Bucks face the Indiana Pacers in an earlier semifinal.

The tone for this entire event has been set by LeBron James, the biggest star in the league who approached the games with added urgency.


“He really wants to be the first,” one Lakers staffer admitted pregame.

Tuesday, he played like it.

The beat to Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode” boomed as the fans rose to their feet and waited for James to write the script for whatever was coming next.

He bounded into the paint with the speed and strength that has been unmatched at age 38 in basketball history. He contorted and scored from the left side, the Suns calling a timeout and James delivering his 31st point of the game.

He finished with those 31 to go with eight rebounds and 11 assists. He also had five steals, playing with the kind of defensive effort that’s usually not there on a nightly basis for the league’s all-time leading scorer.


The Suns had a late chance, nearly forcing a Reaves turnover in the backcourt, but the Lakers were awarded a timeout. Anthony Davis split on a pair of free throws, but Kevin Durant’s long shot at the buzzer wasn’t close.

In their first two meetings this season, the script was nearly identical.

The Suns, the team with the better shot-making, would race to the big early lead before the Lakers would find something leading to a second-half run and a stolen win.

This time, the plot was the same — the characters just swapped parts.

It began with a gift, a sloppy turnover to begin the second half for a team that did almost nothing but commit them for the previous 24 minutes.


The mistake triggered a run that would erase all the good will the Lakers had built in the first half.

Unlike their first two meetings, the Lakers were the team that set the tone from the tip, dictating the flow of the game with force and intensity. The Suns seemed to be caught off guard, committing 10 of their 20 turnovers in the first quarter.

The Lakers led by as many 15, James’ playmaking and Davis’ dominance inside putting them in great position to advance with just two quarters to play.

Then, the gift.

James began the second half with a turnover leading to an easy uncontested layup for the Suns that gassed them up for a quick, lighting-strike run to reset the game.


The Suns scored 14 straight points beginning with that bucket, enough to grab the lead for the first time since the score was 9-7.

The Lakers, knocked back on their heels, turned to Reaves who reinjected life into the team after a horrific 113 seconds erased its double-digit lead. He responded with a snippet of the play that made him one of Team USA’s best this summer at the FIBA World Cup, hitting threes, drawing fouls and even scoring on a putback.

But the big shot in the fourth, an arcing triple with 15.1 seconds left that ended with Reaves flexing and howling, was his biggest moment.

Now, the Lakers get a chance at making more of them.

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Dodgers’ Dave Roberts might have made big mistake in Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes



Dodgers’ Dave Roberts might have made big mistake in Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed that the team met with Shohei Ohtani “a couple days ago,” but that comment alone may have an impact on landing the highly sought after free agent superstar. 

Ohtani owns MLB free agency talk, especially at the league’s Winter Meetings in Nashville this week. But the courting of Ohtani by teams that want his once-in-a-lifetime abilities on the mound and in the batter’s box has been mum from prospective clubs. 

That is until Roberts dropped what’s become a bomb in free agent rumors despite it being a simple confirmation that a meeting occurred.

Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels at third base during the Major League Baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies  on August 28, 2023 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


Why? Well, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported earlier this week if Ohtani’s camp caught wind of a meeting with a team going public, he “will hold it against the interested club.”

Now, this wasn’t just a rumor from a reporter. The Dodgers’ manager was outright in saying it happened, and added, “I think it went well.”

Dodgers GM Brandon Gomes was asked about the meeting due to Roberts’ comments, which he acknowledged, saying, “Dave made a comment.” He was reportedly surprised that occurred, but when asked if Roberts’ comments would hurt the team’s pursuit, Gomes was succinct. 


“I have no idea,” he responded.


Roberts explained why he believed his comments about the meeting weren’t a big deal. 

“I don’t feel like lying is something I do,” he told the LA Times. “I was asked a question. And yeah, I think to be forthright in this situation, we kept it quiet. But it’s gonna come out at some point that we met. … So I don’t think myself or anyone else in our organization would want to lie about it.”

Gomes would not make any comments about the Ohtani meeting. 

The Dodgers are one of the frontrunners to land Ohtani, who is looking for a record-setting contract in free agency after winning his second AL MVP with the Los Angeles Angels after belting 44 homers and slashing .304/.412/.654 with a 1.066 OPS, while also pitching to a 3.14 ERA with 167 strikeouts over 132 innings. 

Shohei Ohtani in the dugout

Shohei Ohtani sits on the bench in the fourth inning during a game against the Detroit Tigers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2023 in Anaheim, California. (John McCoy/Getty Images)

Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery in September, though, which should keep him off the mound until 2025. However, Ohtani is expected to be free of any restrictions hitting for the 2024 season. 


Other teams in the running for Ohtani are the Toronto Blue Jays, who reportedly met with him at their spring training facility in Florida on Monday. Blue Jays manager John Schneider was coy when asked about the situation, though. 


“It’s exciting that we’re in the mix for it,” he told TSN. “There’s a lot of different ways to make our team better, but he’s obviously a great player.”

The San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs were also mentioned as potential aggressors in the Ohtani sweepstakes. 

With the Winter Meetings in full swing, we’ll see if a record-breaking deal that Ohtani approves of comes this week. But, as we saw with players like Aaron Judge last season, free agency decisions, especially from those at the top of the game, may need some more time to figure out before the new year begins. 

Dave Roberts grimaces

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts watches from the dugout before Game 2 of a baseball NL Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023, in Los Angeles.  (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

And Roberts will hope his comments don’t affect Ohtani’s decision when that time comes. 

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Rams cornerback Derion Kendrick has court case paused for judicial diversion



Rams cornerback Derion Kendrick has court case paused for judicial diversion

Rams cornerback Derion Kendrick, facing two misdemeanor gun charges, on Tuesday was granted judicial diversion, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office said.

Kendrick, 23, was arrested in October in Hollywood and charged with carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a loaded firearm.

Kendrick appeared in court Tuesday, and Judge Maria Lucy Armendariz granted his motion requesting judicial diversion, a court clerk said.

In the next 12 months, Kendrick must perform 20 hours of community service and enroll and complete the John Hopkins Gun Safety Class. He cannot own, use or possess any dangerous or deadly weapons, use or threaten to use force or violence against any person, and must obey all laws and orders of the court.

If Kendrick completes the obligations, the case will be dismissed. His next court date is March 13.


Kendrick, a sixth-round draft pick in 2022, has started 10 games this season. He intercepted a pass in last month’s victory over the Seattle Seahawks and also intercepted a two-point conversion pass against the Arizona Cardinals.

The Rams (6-6) play the Ravens (9-3) on Sunday in Baltimore.

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