It’s getting close to that time of year when the games mean more in college football, and on Saturday, that was even more apparent. Several teams remained alive in the hunt for the College Football Playoff with very big wins. Alabama were the team that everyone had an eye on. Was this team as good as they had been built up to be? A trip to LSU in a night game told us undoubtedly: YES. The Crimson Tide downright dominated the home Tigers to win 29-0 in a rout. This LSU team was by far the best defense they had seen, yet they racked up over 500 yards anyway. With the win, the Tide clinched the SEC West crown, meaning they will face Georgia, who saw off Kentucky 34-17, in Atlanta.
Clemson stayed right on the heels of Alabama with another decisive win, defeating Louisville 77-16 in what wasn’t exactly a nail biter. Michigan, ranked no.5 ahead of the weekend, got a lopsided victory as well, seeing off no. 14 Penn State 42-7. The seven points allowed came with just under two minutes left when the game was all but wrapped up for the Wolverines, who are starting to look like a big threat. Many believe this team, whose only loss came against Notre Dame, would beat the Fighting Irish if they played again today. But would the selection committee make that call? Speaking of Notre Dame, they once again failed to look their best against a team that just isn’t that good. But they got a 31-21 win over Northwestern, and for now that should be enough to keep them in the top four.
Another team that will cling on to playoff hopes for another week will be the Oklahoma Sooners, who just about survived their trip to Lubbock on Saturday. The Sooners defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders in what could only be described as a shootout, winning it 51-46. Heisman hopeful Kyler Murray threw two interceptions early in the game that saw the Sooners fall behind, but the seventh-ranked team in the country fought back to win the last three quarters to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Over in NBA action on Saturday night, the Houston Rockets were aided by 25 points from a returning James Harden as they won 96-88 over the Chicago Bulls for their second straight ‘W.’ 11 of those came in the third quarter, where the game turned, and the Rockets would not look back from there. The Los Angeles Lakers, led by coaching according to LeBron James, also got a big win, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 114-110. LeBron scored 28 points and had seven helpers, which caused the Lakers to defeat their opposition and end a 16 game skid against them. It was also the first road win for the Lakers in the new season.