Baker Mayfield is an unstoppable force right now. Brett Deering/Getty Images
Taking a look back at the weekend in college football:
Oklahoma 41, TCU 17
Heisman frontrunner Baker Mayfield led the Sooners to a blowout victory over TCU, throwing four touchdown passes in Saturday’s game. The Horned Frogs were unable to get their offense moving in the first quarter and were subsequently shut out the entire second half of the game. Kenny Hill threw two touchdown passes in the second quarter, leaving the score at 24-17 at the half, but the Sooners sealed their fate in the second half. The 41 points for Oklahoma are the most TCU has allowed all season. Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said, "I'm really proud of our group for not listening to the entire narrative across the country that we shouldn't be playing this championship game and all that mess." The the Big 12 champions wait to learn who their opponent will be and in which national semi-final game.
USC 31, Stanford 28
The Pac-12 championship game was nothing short of a battle at Levi’s stadium on Friday. USC sophomore Michael Pittman Jr. made seven receptions and one score for 146 yards, including a 54-yard pass from Sam Darnold who paved the way to a championship win for the Trojans. The sophomore quarterback was 17 of 24 for 325 yards, completing scoring passes to both Pittman and Tyler Vaughns. Stanford coach David Shaw said “The bottom line is we had opportunities and we didn't make enough plays.” Both teams await their bowl bids on Sunday.
Clemson 38, Miami 3
Kelly Bryant left it all on the field in Saturday’s ACC championship matchup against Miami. Bryant set a championship game record by completing his first 15 passes, forcing aside concerns that he could not live up to the standard set by Clemson icon Deshaun Watson. Bryant was 23 of 29 for 252 yards, with one touchdown pass and one running score. With their choice of bowl game sites, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney left no doubt about his choice. “Get ready, Sugar Bowl,” he yelled. “Here we come.”
Georgia 28, Auburn 7
Just three weeks after an embarrassing loss to Auburn, Georgia handed out a brutal beating of their own on Saturday, winning the Southeastern Conference championship in a blowout 28-7 game. With this victory Georgia claimed its first SEC title since 2005. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm was 16 of 22 with 183 yards and two scores for the Bulldogs. Auburn scored once in the first quarter before being completely shut out the remainder of the game.
Ohio State 27, Wisconsin 21
Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett dazzled in Saturday’s Big Ten championship matchup against Wisconsin. Just six days after surgery, Barrett threw two touchdown passes, ran for another and led the Buckeyes to their first Big Ten title since 2014. Ohio State coach, Urban Meyer said, “We have two wins over two
top-four teams and another one over a team ranked 12th or 13th. We're a conference champion and we deserve a shot.” The Buckeyes find out where they’re headed next on Sunday.
As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.
Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).
Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.
But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.
Cristian Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. He acknowledged that some of his struggles last year could be attributed to some extra weight he was carrying around in addition to the already-documented mechanical flaws he had.
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) February 22, 2024
In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.
Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.
The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.