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The ESPN Daily: Playbook on the field, the CFP committee gets it right, and ghosting your own team

Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

GOOD MORNING!

The Patriots -- the team I grew up rooting for -- are on a losing streak. This is an unusual occurrence, and I'm not sure how to deal with it. I don't expect your sympathy, as I'm pretty sure it'll take a losing streak of several decades to work up to that for New England. Also, there's a non-zero chance that the Pats fix something next week and go undefeated through the Super Bowl. Wouldn't be the first time. Here's today's ESPN Daily:


LISTEN UP

What is this "defense" you speak of? The Saints and 49ers put on a show Sunday, combining for 94 points in a thrilling game that San Francisco barely eked out. In today's ESPN Daily podcast, Bill Barnwell joins Mina Kimes to talk about the fireworks from both teams. In the second half, Heather Dinich stops by to break down team rankings in the College Football Playoff


SAY WHAT?

Gotta get a better binder ... NFL playbooks are under tighter security than the British crown jewels, so it was more than a little surprising to see pages full of them float onto the field during the Ravens-Bills game on Sunday. Unfortunately for the Ravens, Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White got a look at them, providing his team with an invaluable advantage against -- ahhh, just kidding. The Ravens still won. Lamar Jackson threw three touchdowns, by the way, because of course he did -- it has become so routine that Baltimore barely celebrated when John Harbaugh announced they'd clinched a playoff berth.

THINGS TO CARE ABOUT

Well done to the committee ... The College Football Playoff semifinal matchups have been decided, and it's time for everyone to boo and hiss at the CFP committee for getting it all wrong. Actually, wait, I'm hearing something in my earpiece. It appears that the committee has actually done the best possible thing? Let's take a look at the matchups:

  • No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Oklahoma

  • No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson

Honestly, there isn't all that much to argue with there! Andrea Adelson gives the much-maligned 13 members of the committee credit where credit is due.

We have some time before the bowls start in earnest, so here's some key info in the meantime:

Ghosting your own team ... Usually, when your team fires its head coach, you can expect the GM or owner (or both) to hold a media conference to explain the decision, reassure fans that there's a plan in motion and answer questions from reporters. When the Knicks fired David Fizdale, one would've reasonably expected them to follow that script ... but they didn't. Instead, new coach Mike Miller had to do it -- and for fans of a franchise that's mired in yet another failing season, that is unlikely to inspire a whole lot of confidence. It's just another symptom of a team still waiting to address its future


THING TO WATCH

George Kittle, juggernaut Without a doubt, the most important play of the entire Saints-49ers shebang was this catch-and-run from tight end George Kittle, who rumbled through several defenders to put San Francisco within easy field goal range for the game winner. If this is a preview of what we're getting in the playoffs, sign me up


OVERHEARD

"It wasn't handled the right way in our training room ... I think it could have been addressed earlier on."

-- -- Baker Mayfield, blaming the Browns for mishandling Odell Beckham Jr.'s injury Read more


REMEMBER WHEN?

On this date in 2004, Tracy McGrady scored 13 points in about as much time as it took to type this sentence. OK, maybe this sentence, too. And this one. I'm starting to regret this analogy. Thirty-three seconds is a lot longer than you'd think when you're typing. Watch


WHAT'S ON TONIGHT?

  • No. 16 Seton Hall vs. Iowa State (11 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

  • Islanders at Lighting (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+))

  • Giants at Eagles (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)

  • Flames at Avalanche (9 p.m. ET, ESPN+)


UNTIL NEXT TIME, REMEMBER ...

Realistically, how long would the Patriots have to be bad before you'd feel sorry for them? A few years? A few decades? The only comparison I can make is to my own feelings about the Yankees: I'll feel sorry for them when they've been bad for so many consecutive seasons that baseball itself barely resembles its modern-day incarnation. Like, it'll be played on Mars and called "Hark! The Sphere!" or something. This has been your ESPN Daily for Monday, Dec. 9, 2019.