A New Year of Sports

January 3, 2022

By: Carlos Alvarez

Welcome Back 

And Happy New Year! The Sportsletter’s return after a two-week holiday break means we have plenty to catch up on. From all the bowl games to updates on the NFL and NBA standings and more, let’s kickoff 2022.

Letter Rip!



Bowl Season Rewind


#1 Alabama & #3 Georgia Set for All-SEC Rematch in CFP Title Game


The stage is set. After a full holiday schedule of bowl games to stamp the end of the 2021 college football season, two teams remain for a winner-take-all showdown in Indianapolis. No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia were blowout winners of No. 4 Cincinnati and No. 2 Michigan, respectively, on New Year’s Eve. Both SEC juggernauts won by 20-plus en route to the title game. It’ll be their second meeting season — Alabama won the SEC Championship (41-24) — and their second clash in the CFP championship. Alabama beat Georgia in 2017 (26-23).


Here’s a list of all the bowl game highlights from the holiday break, starting with the playoff semifinals.


CFB Playoff Semifinals

#1 Alabama def. #4 Cincinnati (27-6)

#3 Georgia def. #2 Michigan (34-11)


New Year’s Six Bowl Games

#9 Oklahoma State def. #5 Notre Dame (37-35)

#6 Ohio State def. #11 Utah (48-45)

#7 Baylor def. #8 Ole Miss (21-7)

#10 Michigan State def. #12 Pittsburgh (31-21)


Other Notable Bowl Games

UAB def. #13 BYU (31-28)

#23 Louisiana def. Marshall (36-21)

#16 Oklahoma def. #14 Oregon (47-32)

#19 Clemson def. Iowa State (20-13)

#17 Wake Forest def. Rutgers (38-10)

#22 Kentucky def. #15 Iowa (20-17)


Additional Storylines

CBS Sports: Cotton Bowl Takeaways: Tide Roll Into 6th CFP Title Game

NY Times: A Renewed Georgia Pummels Michigan to Reach National Title Game

ESPN: Ohio State’s Jaxson Smith-Njigba & C.J. Stroud Smash Records in Rose Bowl Win



The Playoff Ticket-Punchers


Bengals Among 11 Teams to Clinch Playoffs Over Holidays


The NFL’s Week 17 capped off a thrilling holiday break where eleven teams have now clinched playoff berths. Sunday’s action saw three AFC division crowns locked up, including the Bengals, Chiefs and Titans. Meanwhile in the NFC, the Packers locked down the No. 1 overall seed to secure the NFC’s road to Super Bowl LVI runs through Lambeau Field. With three weeks of football to catch up on and too many highlights to count, here’s a look at the playoff ticket-punchers and Sunday’s Week 17 highlights.


NFC Playoff Picture

1. Packers (13-3) | *Clinched Division

2. Rams (12-4) | *Clinched Playoffs

3. Buccaneers (12-4) | *Clinched Division

4. Cowboys (11-5) | *Clinched Division

5. Cardinals (11-5) | *Clinched Playoffs

6. Eagles (9-7) | *Clinched Playoffs

7. 49ers (9-7)


In the Hunt: Saints (8-8)


AFC Playoff Picture

Titans (11-5) | *Clinched Division

2. Chiefs (11-5) | *Clinched Division

3. Bengals (10-6) | *Clinched Division

4. Bills (10-6) | *Clinched Playoffs

5. Patriots (10-6) | *Clinched Playoffs

6. Colts (9-7)

7. Chargers (9-7)


In the Hunt: Raiders (9-7), Ravens (8-8), Steelers (7-7-1)


All Week 17 Highlights

Eagles def. Washington (20-16) | Rams def. Ravens (20-19) | Buccaneers def. Jets (28-24) | Titans def. Dolphins (34-3) | Patriots def. Jaguars (50-10) | Raiders def. Colts (23-20) | Bengals def. Chiefs (34-31) | Bears def. Giants (29-3) | Bills def. Falcons (29-15) | 49ers def. Texans (23-7) | Chargers def. Broncos (34-13) | Saints def. Panthers (18-10) | Seahawks def. Lions (51-29) | Cardinals def. Cowboys (25-22) | Packers def. Vikings (37-10)


Monday Night Football

Browns at Steelers (8:15 pm ET)


Additional Storylines

NFL: Week 17: What We Learned From Sunday’s Games

SI: Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase Breaks Single Game Rookie Receiving Record

ESPN: WR Antonio Brown ‘No Longer a Buc’ After 3rd Quarter Meltdown



NBA Standings: Bulls Buzzer-Beaters


DeMar DeRozan Makes NBA History With Back-to-Back Buzzer-Beaters


A historic weekend for DeMar DeRozan welcomed the new year in the NBA. The Chicago Bulls — now winners of seven straight — have ascended atop the Eastern Conference after DeRozan’s pair of game-winning buzzer-beaters on back-to-back nights. He stunned the Pacers on Friday (108-106) with a one-legged 3 before another dagger against the Wizards on Saturday (120-119). It’s the first time in NBA history that a player has hit back-to-back buzzer-beaters on consecutive nights. DeRozan poured in 28 points in both games, and Chicago now owns the East.


Watch: DeRozan’s Game-Winner Against Pacers

Watch: DeRozan’s Game-Winner Against Wizards


NBA Post-Holiday Standings


Eastern Conference

1. Bulls (24-10) | W7

2. Nets (23-11) | L2

3. Bucks (25-13) | W6

4. Heat (23-14) | L1

5. Cavaliers (20-16) | L3

6. 76ers (19-16) | W3

7. Hornets (19-17) | W3

8. Wizards (18-18) | L1

9. Raptors (16-17) | W2

10. Celtics (17-19) | W1


Western Conference

1. Warriors (28-7) | W1

2. Suns (27-8) | L1

3. Jazz (26-10) | L1

4. Grizzlies (23-14) | W4

5. Nuggets (18-16) | W3

6. Clippers (19-18) | W1

7. Lakers (18-19) | W1

8. Mavericks (17-18) | W1

9. Timberwolves (16-19) | L2

10. Kings (16-22) | W1


Full NBA Standings


Additional Storylines

ESPN: The Golden Basketball: Which Superstar Rose Above the Rest in 2021?

CBS Sports: Bulls’ DeRozan Makes NBA History With Buzzer-Beaters on Consecutive Days

USA Today: Rockets’ Kevin Porter Jr. Leaves Before Game Ends After Verbal Altercation With Assistant



\"🏒\" NHL: Blues Win Frigid Winter Classic

The coldest NHL game on record took place Saturday in Minneapolis when the Blues defeated the Wild in the NHL’s Winter Classic (6-4) in minus-5 degree temperatures. Jordan Kyrou tallied two goals and two assists to lead the way.


\"⚽️\" EPL: Pulisic Pulls Chelsea Comeback

With Manchester City atop the Premier League table, Chelsea and Liverpool played to a 2-2 draw on Saturday thanks to Christian Pulisic’s equalizer. One of the most thrilling EPL games of the year only helped City who now hold a 10-point advantage in the table.


\"🏀\" NCAA Men’s Scoreboard

\"🏀\" NCAA Women’s Scoreboard



\"🏈\"  Remembering John Madden

John Madden, the Hall of Fame coach-turned-broadcaster whose exuberant calls combined with simple explanations provided a weekly soundtrack to NFL games for three decades, died Tuesday morning, the NFL said. He was 85. (ESPN)


\"🏀\"  Becky Hammon’s Move to WNBA

For years, the record books were waiting. Becky Hammon was going to be the first female head coach in NBA history. She spent eight years as an assistant for the Spurs, but now she’s the highest-paid coach in WNBA history. (FOX Sports)


\"🏒\"  NHL Players to Skip Winter Olympics

Less than four months after agreeing to send hockey’s top stars to the Games, the N.H.L. and its players’ union have reversed course amid a rise in coronavirus cases. The league’s season schedule is already in jeopardy… (NY Times)


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