Dan Wetzel

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Dan Wetzel is an award-winning sportswriter, author and screenwriter. He has covered all levels of basketball as well as college football, the NFL, MLB and NHL. He is the co-author of the book "Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series," which following five printings of the first edition was re-released in a second, updated edition in October.

  • Conor McGregor literally calls his shot in biggest fight of his life

    LAS VEGAS – He never stops talking. That's the first thing everyone notices about Conor McGregor and for a long time it was just assumed that he was embracing a well-worn plan in the fight game – talk your way to riches. Considering it wasn't but a few years ago he was sitting in Dublin, sitting on the Irish dole, you could hardly blame him.

    He's more than just force of personality, though. He's force of force, and that much was cemented here Saturday night when McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds flat to win the featherweight championship at UFC 194.

    Aldo was the reigning champ, hadn't lost in a decade and was considered the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist in the world.

    McGregor finished the fight so quickly it was condensed to a Vine. For a year or more, McGregor had talked and talked about Aldo, told him he was going to knock him out, told the world he was going to knock him out, mocked him when an injury delayed the fight and then told him "by God his day is

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  • Packers need more than another Hail Mary to reverse downward trend

    Aaron Rodgers was 23-of-35 passing for 212 yards, one touchdown and one pick. His Green Bay Packers were about to lose to the Detroit Lions, which would be their fifth defeat in six games. During that stretch there were four games Rodgers completed less than 58 percent of his throws and this would be his third consecutive 212 or less yards passing game.

    Meanwhile the offensive line had not offered much protection nor run game – just 41 yards from running backs. The wide receivers continued to struggle to find separation on routes.

    This was about to be a total disaster for the Packers who were once 6-0 but about to fall to 7-5. Aaron Rodgers has cooled off considerably since his hot start in the beginning of the season. (Getty) Aaron Rodgers has cooled off considerably since his hot start in the beginning of the season. (Getty)

    [Yahoo Daily Fantasy: $10 could win you $30K in our $300K contest for Week 14]

    Then the right hand of Detroit's Devin Taylor grazed Rodgers' facemask on the final timed play of the game. That earned a 15-yard penalty and an extra snap, one that the Lions illogically defended without their Hail Mary group on the field. Rodgers had plenty of time to set up a huge

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  • Was Chip Kelly's offer to LeSean McCoy merely gamesmanship?

    The handshake is believed to originate as a gesture between opposing sides to prove each wasn't carrying a weapon. You grasp my empty hand. I'll grasp yours.

    This entire act is rooted in distrust, which probably exists between Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly and the franchise's all-time leading rusher, LeSean McCoy, whom Kelly traded to the Buffalo Bills last offseason.

    Kelly said he wants to shake McCoy's hand before Sunday's game between the two teams in Philly. LeSean McCoy (Getty Images) LeSean McCoy (Getty Images)

    "I'd love to shake LeSean's hand," Kelly said.

    McCoy says no chance.

    "Chip can't shake s---," McCoy said. "Nothing."

    [Yahoo Daily Fantasy: $10 could win you $30K in our $300K contest for Week 14]

    So now the heat on this NFL beef is turned up again. Sunday's game will eventually determine the outcome, but either Kelly thought bringing up a potential handshake with McCoy was a bit of gamesmanship that could help the Eagles or he naively fired up an already emotional player.

    McCoy knows this much: the best way to get back

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  • How Dabo Swinney revived Clemson football

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. – He’s a little bit, well, over the top at times, the excitable puppy college football coach. Even he admits this.

    He’s the kind of guy who screams “Bring Your Own Guts” into a television camera after one game. Or runs around like a wild man on the sideline. Or promises a pizza party for 25,000 fans to watch the playoff selections back when he had no idea if his team would make the playoff, let alone how many pizzas that might entail or if they can make that many of them in upstate South Carolina (3,000 or so and with 10 restaurants jamming it appears they did).

    Maybe it starts with the name, Dabo … Dabo Swinney.

    Who the heck is named Dabo? No one, at least not until he made it famous. His real name is William, but when he was born his older brother, Tripp, couldn’t say it, so Tripp just kept calling him “That Boy,” which in the combination of toddler speak and central Alabama accent came out like “Da-bo.”

    He’s 46 now, but everyone still calls him Dabo. Unless they are

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  • Controversial penalty call mars Clemson's ACC title win over North Carolina

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. – North Carolina cut the deficit against Clemson to just eight points, 45-37, courtesy of a Marquise Williams to Ryan Switzer touchdown pass. There was still 1:13 remaining in the ACC championship game and Carolina had three timeouts.

    If the Heels got the onside kick, anything was possible. Not just here for a league title, but in the balance of the College Football Playoff – it could push No. 1 Clemson out or elevate either Stanford or North Carolina or maybe even Ohio State in.

    One onside kick with so much on the line, the whole nation watching.

    Freeman Jones booted it left. It bounced twice and slammed into Clemson's Zac Brooks, who couldn't handle it. It squirted back to the middle of the field and into the chaos where Carolina's Hunter Crafford fell on it.

    Bang, first-and-10, everything still alive and if you don't think hopes soared from Ohio to California … flag.

    (ESPN)(ESPN)

    Offside. Carolina.

    Except along came television replays and the Heels not only weren't offside they

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  • Here's how Aaron Rodgers' Hail Mary was answered and how Lions helped their own demise

    DETROIT – For as long as it's been obvious that Aaron Rodgers' right arm could chuck a football like few others, he's been told to practice the Hail Mary … just in case. All across early football, through Pleasant Valley High in Chico, Calif., and Butte Community College and as a Cal Golden Bear, and eventually a Green Bay Packer, he gives it a go, at least once a week, often more.

    With the Packers, it's always the day before the game, at the end of practice. The receivers will bolt to the end zone and Rodgers will heave it down there. Often, they say, they let defenders pick it off.

    "We don't want anyone getting hurt," tight end Richard Rodgers said. It's a loose drill. Sometimes, just for fun, they'll even give it a try pregame. Richard Rodgers was a hero for the Packers on Thursday night. (AP) Richard Rodgers was a hero for the Packers on Thursday night. (AP)

    The Packers did that three times Thursday night before their game with the Detroit Lions.

    "Just messing around a little bit," Aaron Rodgers said.

    In practice, the Hail Mary sometimes works. In the games, it never had. Here Rodgers was, 32 years old, a Super

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  • From 1-7 to potential wild-card contenders, Lions pushing for incredible turnaround

    ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Inside the locker room of the Detroit Lions this week, between a morning of practice and an afternoon of meetings, offensive linemen Larry Warford and LaAdrian Waddle engaged in a quick, but heated, game of table tennis.

    Soon linebacker Travis Lewis and wideout Corey Fuller had their own game of tossing bean bags going and later cornerback Darius Slay and safety James Ihedigbo debated who was better – Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant.

    "Jordan," Ihedigbo said dismissively, like it shouldn't even be up for argument. Matthew Stafford is 3-1 under his new offensive coordinator. (AP) Matthew Stafford is 3-1 under his new offensive coordinator. (AP)

    "Kobe," Slay countered. "He's the GOAT."

    "Ridiculous," Ihedigbo, who turns 32 Thursday, responded, arguing that Slay, who is just 24, is too young to appreciate MJ and thus doesn't know any better.

    The two laughed through the dispute, as did everyone else listening in. It was a brief moment of levity in a packed workday, the product of an unlikely three-game win streak that has turned the 4-7 Lions into the NFL's most unlikely playoff contender heading into

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  • Question for the committee: Does Clemson deserve to make playoff even if it loses?

    To those who see the work of the College Football Playoff selection committee as solving a grand logic problem more than just the selection of four good teams, the final weekend of the season offers one tantalizing question:

    Is Clemson in the playoff even if it loses Saturday to North Carolina, at least if it's a close loss, maybe on a late field goal or in overtime?

    That seems to be the scenario that isn't getting much traction during the endless debate over who is going to get in when the field is officially announced on Sunday.

    Everyone agrees that if Clemson, currently 12-0 and ranked No. 1 in each week of the committee's poll, beats UNC for the ACC title, the Tigers are in.Dabo Swinney and the Tigers have been at the top of the CFP poll every week this season. (AP)Dabo Swinney and the Tigers have been at the top of the CFP poll every week this season. (AP)

    The debate seems to be about if the Tar Heels can climb into the top four by beating Clemson to finish 12-1. That would require overcoming two non-conference victories over teams from the old Division I-AA, a loss to 3-9 South Carolina and the general mediocrity of their division of the ACC.

    "If we beat the

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  • How Nick Saban's dominance impacted coaching futures of Mark Richt, Les Miles

    Each situation is unique, with many disparate reasons for finding itself in a state of tumult, but there is one item on every list across whatever plagues the (insert name) SEC program near you.

    Nick Saban.

    Alabama hired Saban in 2007 and by 2008 he had college football's modern-day juggernaut up and firing. He's won three national titles since while going for a fourth this season, will play in his fifth SEC championship game Saturday against Florida and has gone 57-5 in regular-season play, including 35-5 in the SEC, over the past five seasons.

    Essentially, no one can beat Saban's Crimson Tide, at least not regularly.

    This is a key reason why Georgia and its longtime, highly successful and high-class coach, Mark Richt, parted ways on Sunday and why LSU tried to fire its longtime, highly successful and high-class coach, Les Miles, on Saturday (public sentiment forced the administration to reverse course).

    Nick Saban has Alabama on its way to another SEC title game. (Getty Images)Nick Saban has Alabama on its way to another SEC title game. (Getty Images)Since 2008, Saban is 7-2 against Miles and LSU, including winning the past five,

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  • Why this win over Michigan meant so much to Ohio State's Urban Meyer

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Eight-year-old Jacob Mahoney signed – not sung, signed – the national anthem just before noon here Saturday in an old, cavernous stadium before the renewal of an old, storied rivalry.

    Urban Meyer was over near the Ohio State sideline, hand on heart, eyes on the American flag, but he couldn't stand still, couldn't contain the anticipation ripping through him. As the Michigan band played and Jacob's hands moved, Meyer rocked back and forth before breaking into a sort-of mini pace – two steps forward, two steps back, one to the side, one back again.

    Urban Meyer celebrates with Ezekiel Elliott. (Getty)Urban Meyer celebrates with Ezekiel Elliott. (Getty)This was the Michigan game, which always carries a heightened importance to Meyer. And this was the first of what is expected to be many significant clashes with Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh, who in 11 months brought much fanfare and clear improvement. There was no doubt Meyer wanted to make a statement to start this thing, wanted to remind everyone who was still in charge in these parts.

    This was way more than that,

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