NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Dallas Cowboys v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Good morning to everyone but especially to...


Dak Prescott has had some very good games in his career. He chose a very good time to have the best of his career.

Prescott threw for four touchdowns and ran for another, and the Cowboys defense dominated throughout as they romped past Tampa Bay, 31-14. Dallas will visit San Francisco in the Divisional Round.

  • Prescott broke the Dallas single-game postseason record with the five total touchdowns. Two touchdown passes went to Dalton Schultz, and CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup had one each.
  • It was also Prescott's fourth straight playoff game with a passing touchdown and rushing touchdown. That's the longest streak in NFL history.
  • The toughest part of the night for Dallas was... extra points (seriously). Brett Maher missed four of them, the first player in NFL history to do that. Lucky for him, it didn't matter, and he eventually converted on his fifth try.
  • This is Dallas' first road playoff win since the 1992 season.

Prescott's overall numbers were magnificent, and just as impressive was how quickly he shook off an underwhelming start. Dallas went three-and-out on its first two drives, and Prescott was 0-for-4 with a sack. If any doubts crept in, it didn't show. He then led touchdown drives of 80, 80, 91 and 86 yards on four consecutive possessions and at one point completed 11 straight passes.

The unprecedented stats, plus the fact that it came against Tom Brady on the road -- two historical nemeses for the Cowboys -- made it all the more impressive for Prescott, writes our Jeff Kerr.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for...


Monday night was one of many (very bad) "firsts" for Tom Brady, who otherwise has experienced pretty much everything over his incomparable career. He entered the game as a home underdog for the first time in his playoff career, and the firsts didn't end there in what was a disastrous night.

  • Brady threw his first red-zone playoff interception as a Buccaneer in the first quarter in what proved to be Tampa Bay's first and only chance to make the game competitive.
  • It's his first loss against the Cowboys. He had been 7-0.
  • It was a disappointing and telling end to Brady's first losing season.

Now, the real question: was this a game of lasts. Brady's last game as a Buccaneer? His last game... ever?

Unlike years past, Brady didn't have the playoff magic to overcome issues around him. The league's worst rushing attack no-showed. Brady was erratic (at best) for long stretches behind an offensive line that -- due to offseason departures, injuries and underperformance -- never established any rhythm this season. An inconsistent defense got burned repeatedly.

After the game, the seven-time Super Bowl champion was non-committal about his future, though our Jeff Kerr made a prediction as for what's next.

Not so honorable mentions

Jim Harbaugh is officially staying at Michigan 🏈

Illinois v Michigan
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Another successful season followed by a ton of NFL speculation regarding the head coach. But as long as Jim Harbaugh keeps returning to Michigan, the Wolverines will take it, and that's exactly what happened Monday.

Harbaugh confirmed the news with the following statement:

  • "I love the relationships that I have at Michigan -- coaches, staff, families, administration, President Santa Ono and especially the players and their families. My heart is at the University of Michigan. I once heard a wise man say, 'Don't try to out-happy, happy.' Go Blue!"

It'll be Harbaugh's ninth season in Ann Arbor, and this one will come with expectations as high as ever. The Wolverines have won the Big Ten two consecutive years, beating Ohio State in the regular-season finale and making the College Football Playoff in both years as well. The next step will be winning a College Playoff game, as his Wolverines have been ousted in the semifinal both times. The returns of quarterback J.J. McCarthy and running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards should help.

After interviewing with the Vikings last offseason, Harbaugh talked to Panthers owner David Tepper and was also tied to the Broncos and Colts openings this offseason, even after signing a five-year, $36.7-million in early 2022.

C.J. Stroud finally declares for NFL Draft after rumors galore 🏈

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 Semifinal Game Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
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One day, a huge NIL deal will keep a surefire top-10 pick in college. But Monday was not that day.

After rumors of him staying at Ohio State reached fever pitch, C.J. Stroud officially declared for the NFL Draft on the final day for underclassmen to declare.

  • Stroud was a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist and threw for 85 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions combined in his two seasons as a starter.
  • He played one of the best games -- if not the best game -- of his career in the College Football Playoff semifinal against Georgia, throwing for 348 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions and rushing for 34 yards, but when Noah Ruggles' kick went wide left, his collegiate career came to an end.
  • Our Ryan Wilson projects Stroud to go No. 5 overall to the Raiders in his latest mock draft. Stroud is currently No. 4 in our prospect rankings.

Stroud waiting until the final day certainly helped stoke the rumors of his return to Columbus. Former Ohio State player Mekka Don tweeted on Friday that "NIL will change SOME high profile players decisions to leave early or not. Especially if the player believes they have unfinished business (a la CJ Stroud)." He later clarified it wasn't a prediction, but that line of thinking wasn't uncommon... until Stroud ended it with his announcement, which, after all, had long been expected.

The Buckeyes will have to replace a star, but that may not be too big of an issue considering the players they have -- and may still add -- notes our Barrett Sallee.

Here's the full list of underclassmen who declared.

College basketball roundup: Big 12 breaking Bracketology? Plus, UConn's fall continues 🏀


After a loaded weekend of college basketball, Jerry Palm's latest Bracketology is out, and it has a problem: The Big 12 is too good.

What do I mean by too good? I mean that there's a rule that says top-four seeds from the same conference shouldn't be in the same region. But the Big 12 has five projected top-four seeds:

  • Kansas (Midwest 1 seed)
  • Texas (South 3 seed)
  • Iowa State (East 4 seed)
  • TCU (Midwest 4 seed)
  • Kansas State (West 4 seed)

And if that's not enough, Baylor is a projected five seed. Our apologies in advance, Selection Committee.

As for a team slipping of late, UConn is still a 2 seed in Jerry's Bracketology, but the Huskies are down to 15th in the AP Poll, 14th in the Coaches Poll and, most importantly, 15th in Gary Parrish's Top 25 And 1. They've lost four of their last five -- the most recent an 85-74 home loss to St. John's -- and it's an uncertain time in Storrs, Gary writes.

  • Parrish: "The first three losses were at Xavier, at Providence and at Marquette, which is to say, the first three losses were road losses to nationally ranked teams. Lots of schools, even some really good ones, would go winless at Xavier, at Providence and at Marquette. ... But when those results are backed by a double-digit loss at home to unranked St. John's, well, everything is in question."

What we're watching Tuesday 📺

🏀 No. 2 Kansas at No. 13 Kansas State, 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Raptors at Bucks, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏀 76ers at Clippers, 10 p.m. on TNT