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Our Predictions for the New N.B.A. Season



No one word is sufficient to describe the happenings in the N.B.A. over the past six months. From the crowning of an unexpected champion to an off-season of stunning free agency moves, the league has upended so much of what we had come to know to be true.

As a new season begins, we are faced with a new set of truths — the Golden State Warriors could miss the playoffs; the Los Angeles Clippers could win it all — and a need to risk being wrong about everything.

With a nod to the actress Keke Palmer, who blessed us all with the viral phrase “sorry to this man,” we predict who won’t finish the season with his or her current team, who will win major awards like most valuable player, and which will be the one team standing at the end.

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College football bold predictions for Week 13 include Ohio State, USC




Shocking disappointments and better-than-expected performances are anticipated each weekend in the wild world of college football. Even if everyone knows they are coming, guessing when and where they will happen is difficult. 

The USA TODAY Sports college football staff — Jace Evans, Paul Myerberg, George Schroeder, Erick Smith, Eddie Timanus and Dan Wolken — weigh in with some bold predictions for Week 13 of the college football season:

Jace Evans

Ohio State will take over the No. 1 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings next week. No, LSU is not going to lose (the Tigers play Arkansas, the worst team in the Southeastern Conference). Rather, the Buckeyes will snag the top spot as they will blow out Penn State, by at least three scores. Ohio State has been one of the most dominant teams we’ve ever see through 10 games and there’s little reason to expect that to change. In fact, the Buckeyes should be even better as all-world defensive end Chase Young returns and the team will likely be looking to send a message as it faces its toughest test of the season so far. Penn State is certainly good, but the Nittany Lions played a close, tough contest against Indiana in Happy Valley last week. The Buckeyes beat those same Hoosiers by 41 this season.

POWER RANKINGS: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

STAFF PICKS: Expert predictions for every Top 25 game in Week 13

IMPACT MATCHUPS: Five Week 13 games that will influence the playoff

Paul Myerberg

Ohio State does a number on Penn State and makes a strong case for being No. 1 in the Amway Coaches Poll and the College Football Playoff rankings. By the way, this is what OSU has done all season. The Buckeyes have won each of their first 10 games by 24 or more points, joining 1971 Nebraska as the only teams to do so in the past century of college football. That’s a good way to put the Buckeyes’ dominance into perspective. Another is to consider that Penn State is 9-1 with its one loss to Minnesota and is an 18-point underdog.

George Schroeder

Baylor was oh, so close to a signature victory last week – ahead by 25 points against Oklahoma early in the second quarter and 21 at halftime – but it all melted away in the heat of the Sooners’ second-half comeback. Instead of unbeaten and in the College Football Playoff conversation, the Bears are … well, they’re playing Texas. And while it might be difficult to rebound from such a difficult loss, the Longhorns have myriad problems of their own.

Baylor gets a win in Waco, keeping its Big 12 championship hopes alive and giving Texas its fifth – fifth! – loss.

Erick Smith

A majority of people are assuming one-loss Oregon and one-loss Utah will cruise into Pac-12 title game with the winner having a strong argument to make for the College Football Playoff. But there’s still two weeks of football remaining. And this Saturday presents potential danger with the Ducks and Utes traveling to the desert against Arizona State and Arizona, respectively.

Neither the Sun Devils or Wildcats are very good teams. But they’re still fighting for bowl eligibility and will play hard. A letdown is possible. Look for one or two of the contenders to get pushed into the fourth quarter. And if that happens and the pressure mounts, an upset is possible.

Eddie Timanus

There’s a strong temptation to pick Indiana for a big upset at home against Michigan. The Wolverines will say all the right things, of course, but they and everybody else who cares about such mundane matters as college football know who’s on the schedule next week.

But the fact is Michigan has beaten the teams it’s supposed to this season. It hasn’t always been pretty – any existing video of that Iowa game needs to be erased immediately. The Wolverines’ only true no-show was the debacle at Wisconsin. Since then they’ve been fairly solid, coming within a late dropped pass in the end zone of taking Penn State to overtime and handling everybody else including Notre Dame in prime time.

So sorry, Hoosiers, but Michigan will be ready for you.

Dan Wolken

Is this going to be the last game for Clay Helton at USC? That’s the question lurking in the background of this year’s USC-UCLA game. And it’s one that I believe will consume the Trojans’ emotions and thoughts to their detriment. UCLA has been a strange team to figure out, seemingly playing much better until last week’s 49-3 beat down at the hands of Utah. But I believe that was generally an aberration against a very good team and that UCLA will bounce back with a big win in the Coliseum that likely ends the Helton era. 


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Eagles Super Bowl or your presidential candidate? Most pick politics over sports.




WASHINGTON — Hey Eagles fans, would you rather see your team with the Super Bowl or your favorite presidential candidate win next November? How ’bout it, Yankees fans? World Series or politics?

In a Seton Hall University poll released Friday, 74 percent of Americans said they’d rather see their favorite presidential candidate win the White House than their favorite sports team win the World Series or Super Bowl.

Just 19 percent said they’d prefer to see their team hoist a trophy.

It mirrors the views of New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, who in 2012 said said he’d rather see Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney win than his team win the Super Bowl.

Romney lost, but four years later, Johnson was a major fundraiser for President Donald Trump, and was rewarded with the ambassadorship to the United Kingdom. Johnson’s younger brother, Christopher, is running the team in his absence.

Of course, Johnson’s Jets haven’t been close to an NFL championship for a very long time.

The Seton Hall poll showed that as is the case in presidential elections, however, there was a gender gap: 28 percent of men preferring a sports victory to an election win, compared with 11 percent of women.

“It shouldn’t be a surprise that that many men care more about the outcome of a baseball or a football season than the political future of the country – but it is alarming,” said Rick Gentile, director of the Seton Hall Sports Poll.

The poll of 712 adults was conducted Nov. 28-20 and had a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.

Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JDSalant or on Facebook. Find Politics on Facebook.

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