1. HURRICANES: UM-Clemson for ACC title, now CFP set Sunday: Canes and Clemson faced a Saturday night play-in game for one of four spots in the College Football Playoff, with semifinal matchups to be set Sunday. UM went in a big underdog, but it was close to no-lose situation coming out: Either alive for a national championship, or in their home stadium for Orange Bowl.
2. DOLPHINS: Sad Fins host Denver in moribund matchup: How’s this for a weekend contrast, Miami? First your Hurricanes play Clemson for ACC title and spot in college playoffs. And then your Dolphins host Broncos in a duel of hopelessness between teams with a combined 12 straight losses. Hasn’t been a dropoff that sharp since Thelma and Louise drove over the cliff.
3. SOCCER: 2018 World Cup sets group play: The 32 qualifying nations were drawn into eight four-team groups for next summer’s men’s tournament in Russia. But I’m still trying to figure something out so maybe you can explain: The United States and Italy failed to qualify but Iceland got in!? Aurora, Colorado has more people than Iceland. Do they play soccer on skates over there?
4. MARLINS: Giants, Yankees, others in play for Stanton: I heard the Marlins have now decided to not trade Giancarlo Stanton and that Miami also will spend big to go after Japanese hit/pitch sensation Shohei Ohtani. And then I woke up from that dream and it was back to reality. With baseball’s winter meetings approaching, Stanton is like one of his home runs: Going, going ... gone!
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5. HEAT: Erratic team a mystery even to Spo: The 5-spot could go to FAU in C-USA title game, Tiger Woods’ latest comeback, UM men in the Hoophall Miami Invitational or Gulfstream opening its winter racing meet, but let’s stick with the up-and-down Heat. Coach Erik Spoelstra says he doesn’t know what to make of his team and can’t figure ‘em out. Right there with you, bud!