Happy Friday. ICYMI: Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell is hungry for kneecaps next season. I’m both fired up and terrified. Let’s go “take a hunk” out of this weekend, shall we?
McGregor vs. Poirier 2
UFC 257: Saturday (10:00 pm ET, PPV)
Run it back. The second edition of Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier is finally here. The UFC returns to Fight Island in Abu Dhabi for UFC 257 and a rematch of two of the best lightweight fighters in the sport’s history. McGregor won the first fight in 2014 with a first-round KO in just 1 minute and 46 seconds. The first major fight of 2021 has a lot of starpower, and a lot of trash talk. Let’s go Round 2!
Flashback: McGregor vs. Poirier 1 (Video)
CBS Sports: McGregor is -320 Favorite in UFC 257
B/R: UFC Pres. Dana White on the Potential Impact of a McGregor Loss
Colts Offensive Coordinator Inks First Head Coaching Job With Philadelphia
The man who can fix QB Carson Wentz? That’s what the Eagles are betting on. After an extensive coaching search, the Philadelphia Eagles hired Colts OC Nick Sirianni to replace Doug Pederson on Thursday. The 39-year-old spent 11 seasons as an offensive quality control coach, quarterbacks coach, receivers coach and offensive coordinator with the Chargers, Chiefs and Colts. He worked with QB Philip Rivers for most of the past six seasons.
Can Sirianni Fix Wentz?
That’s the big question, and one the Eagles are banking on. While Sirianni is a bit of an unknown, his relationship with Frank Reich is everything. Reich was the Eagles OC in 2017 when Wentz was on pace for MVP before suffering a knee injury. Sirianni is also widely respected for his receiver-development ability, which has been a big miss for the Eagles in recent years.
Wentz led the NFL in interceptions last season, and the Eagles finished with a 4-11-1 record. They have the No. 6 pick in the NFL Draft. The Houston Texans are the only NFL team who’ve yet to hire a new head coach.
USA Today: 5 Things to Know About New Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni
SI: The Nick Sirianni Hiring is All About Carson Wentz
Notre Dame Hit With 1-Year Probation
Coaching Staff Punished for Committing NCAA Recruiting Infractions
The NCAA handed down a one-year probation to the Notre Dame football team on Thursday following an assistant coach’s recruiting violation. The assistant coach, former cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght, is no longer with the team, but he reportedly had impermissible contact with a 2020 recruit — LB Sav’ell Smalls. Smalls eventually chose Washington, but the Seattle native was also involved in recruiting violations at Florida and Texas A&M. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly also committed recruiting violations in 2019 involving an Ohio student-athlete.
The Irish Punishment
Reduced Official Visits for 2020-21
Reduced Unofficial Visits by 14 Days
Both of the Notre Dame infractions are considered minor, but they still landed the Irish a one-year probation that will keep them out of national awards, conference championships and the College Football Playoff.
USA Today: Notre Dame Football on Probation for 2 Minor Recruiting Violations
🏀 NBA: LeBron, Lakers Best the Bucks
The potential NBA Finals preview went the way of the defending champs on Thursday night. The Lakers beat the Bucks (113-106) in Milwaukee, and LeBron James had 34 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds on a 6-for-10 night from downtown.
🏒 NHL: Debrusk Dekes for the Win
The Bruins and Flyers needed a shootout to find a winner in Thursday’s marquee matchup, and Boston’s Jake Debrusk came through. He beat goaltender Carter Hart with a fake-n-flip for the win.
🏀 NCAAW: Naz Hillmon Goes for 50!
Michigan’s Naz Hillmon gets Thursday’s game ball after she notched a school record 50 points (20-for-30, FG). Her 11th-ranked Michigan squad fell to 17th-ranked Ohio State (81-77).
🏀 NCAAM: Indiana Stuns #4 Iowa
Last night’s Big Ten stunner was courtesy of unranked Indiana. The Hoosiers stunned #4 Iowa (81-69) thanks to a 20-3 run in the second half and 23 points from Trayce Jackson-Davis.
🏈 Guide to NFL Conference Championships
The NFL’s divisional round is complete, and we’re looking forward to a really talented and interesting final four… Here is our guide to the good, the bad and the must-see for each matchup in the weekend’s pair of games. (FiveThirtyEight)
🏀 NBA Early-Season Report Cards
Between a truncated schedule, planned rest, health-and-safety-related absences and several postponements, the 2020-21 NBA season is more resistant to evaluation than any in memory. We’re going to try anyway. (Bleacher Report)
⚽️ Premier League Mid-Season Awards
Five teams are currently within five points of the league lead, we’ve had nine different teams occupying first place, and 10 are within five points of a Champions League slot. But to commemorate what we’ve seen so far, let’s hand out some midseason awards. (ESPN)
📰 THE HEADLINES
Steelers Sign Ex-Washington QB Dwayne Haskins to 1-Year Deal
Grizzlies Have Next 3 Games Postponed Due to NBA Health & Safety Protocols
FIFA Warns Players Against Joining Rogue Super League Over Champions League
Rockets Acquire Kevin Porter Jr. Via Trade From Cavaliers
Tokyo Olympics Organizers Push Back Against Reports of Cancellation
🗓️ WEEKEND SCHEDULE
The Must-Watch List
Back-to-back NFL Conference Championships hit the stage on Sunday to set up Super Bowl LV. On Saturday night, Connor McGregor and Dustin Poirier go head-to-head for the first big fight of 2021. Let’s crown some champs. Have a great weekend!
NFL Conference Championships (Sunday)
NFC: Bucs at Packers (3:05 pm ET, FOX)
AFC: Bills at Chiefs (6:40 pm ET, CBS)
UFC 257: Fight Island
McGregor vs. Poirier (Sat. 10:00 pm ET, PPV)
Celtics at 76ers (Fri. 7:30 pm ET)
Heat at Nets (Sat. 7:30 pm ET)
Full NBA Schedule
Oilers at Maple Leafs (Fri. 7:00 pm ET)
Flyers at Bruins (Sat. 7:00 pm ET)
Rangers at Penguins (Sun. 7:00 pm ET)
Full NHL Schedule
USWNT vs. Colombia (Fri. 7:00 pm ET)
EPL: Man. United vs. Liverpool (Sun. Noon ET)
English FA Cup (Saturday)
NCAA Men’s Basketball
#15 Ohio State at #10 Wisconsin (Sat. 4:00 pm ET)
NCAA Women’s Basketball
#6 UCLA at #5 Stanford (Fri. 10:00 pm ET)