Clemson vs. Alabama, again

The NCAA’s playoff system intends to bring the best four teams together for a chance in the national title.
And it keeps bringing Clemson and Alabama together.
The defending champion Tigers and the Crimson Tide – winners two years ago – meet in the Sugar Bowl Monday at 8:50 p.m. on ESPN. The semifinal matchup is a rematch of the last two national title games.
The Tigers have the top seed in this year’s playoff after claiming the ACC championship. Alabama squeezed past Ohio State to make the field despite not winning the SEC or their division.
The other semifinal matches second-seed Oklahoma and Georgia at the Rose Bowl, with kickoff at 5:10 p.m.
The bowl season continues Thursday at 1:30 p.m. when Virginia and Navy tangle in the Military Bowl on ESPN.
Virginia Tech meets Oklahoma State in Orlando at 5:15 p.m. on ESPN, with the Alamo Bowl between Stanford and TCU at 9 p.m. FoxSports1 offers the Holiday Bowl matching Washington State and Michigan State.
Friday’s action begins at 1 p.m. with Belk Bowl as Wake Forest faces Texas A&M. CBS has the Sun Bowl between North Carolina State and Arizona State at 3 p.m., and Kentucky takes on Northwestern on ESPN from the Music City Bowl at 5:15 p.m.
Utah State and New Mexico State meet in the Arizona Bowl on CBS Sports network at 5:30 p.m., with Ohio State facing Southern Cal in the Cotton Bowl at 8:30 p.m.
The Taxslayer Bowl matches Louisville and Mississippi State Saturday at noon on ESPN, with Memphis-Iowa State on ABC at 12:30 p.m. in the Liberty Bowl.
Penn State battles Washington in the Fiesta Bowl at 4 p.m. on ESPN, followed by the Orange Bowl between Wisconsin and Miami.
There’s three games on New Year’s Day before the semifinals start. Michigan meets South Carolina in the Outback Bowl on ESPN2 at noon, with Auburn-Central Florida at the Chick-fil-A Bowl at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN and Notre Dame facing LSU in the Citrus Bowl on ABC at 1 p.m.
The NFL season ends Sunday with all games being played at either 1 or 4:25 p.m. Fox will bring the Redskins against Giants at 1 p.m., followed by Panthers-Falcons.
The Ravens try to clinch a playoff berth against the Bengals on CBS at 4:25 p.m., after the Steelers face the winless Browns at 1 p.m.
TNT offers the Rockets’ visit to Boston Thursday at 8 p.m., followed by Sixers-Trail Blazers.
The Wizards host the Rockets Friday at 7 p.m. and the Bulls Sunday at 3:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.
On the college court, Tulane takes on Temple Thursday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. Pacific tangles with Gonzaga at 9 p.m.
FoxSports1 brings Creighton-Seton Hall Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Providence battles St. John’s in a Big East battle Thursday at 7 p.m. on MASN2.
ESPN2 has Coastal Carolina’s clash with Texas-Arlington Friday at 7 p.m. Kansas takes on Texas at 9 p.m. with Washington State meeting UCLA at 11 p.m.
Kentucky tangles with Louisville Friday at 1 p.m. on CBS.
Maryland meets UMBC on FoxSports1 Friday at 8 p.m. and it’s Utah-Oregon at 10 p.m.
There’s three games on CBS Saturday, starting at noon with Wichita State facing Connecticut. Florida State faces Duke at 2 p.m. before Villanova battles Butler.
North Carolina battles Wake Forest at noon Saturday on ESPN2, followed by Oklahoma-TCU. Vanderbilt faces Florida at 4 p.m. before Texas A&M takes on Alabama.
Virginia starts ACC play against Boston College Saturday at 2 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.
The ACC network brings Pittsburgh-Miami Saturday at 4 p.m.
Brown battles Northwestern on FoxSports1 Saturday at noon, followed by DePaul-Xavier and Georgetown’s contest with Marquette. Stanford clashes with California at 10 p.m.
NBC Sports network has three contests from the Atlantic 10 Saturday, with Fordham-VCU at 12:30 p.m. Massachusetts meets St. Bonaventure at 2:30 p.m. followed by Davidson-Richmond.
Kentucky meets Georgia Sunday at 6 p.m. on ESPN.
ESPN2 offers South Carolina-Mississippi at 6 p.m. Sunday and Washington State takes on Southern Cal at 9 p.m.
Providence clashes with Creighton Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on FoxSports1.
In the women’s hardcourt, West Virginia travels with Texas Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on MASN2.
Ohio State takes on Indiana at 2 p.m. on ESPN2 before Florida faces Auburn.
The Capitals face the Devils Saturday at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.
NBC Sports network has a pair of contests Thursday, with the Capitals meeting the Bruins at 7:30 p.m. followed by the Golden Knights against the Kings.
The Predators tangle with the Wild Friday at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports network.
The 2018 Winter Classic matching the Rangers and Sabres will be on NBC Monday at 1 p.m.
Crystal Palace clashes with Arsenal Thursday at 2:55 p.m. on NBC Sports network.
It’s Liverpool-Leicester City on NBC Sports network Saturday at 9:55 a.m., with Crystal Palace-Manchester City at 6:55 a.m. Sunday followed by West Bromwich Albion-Arsenal at 11:25 a.m.

Sports under the Christmas tree

For the second straight year, most of the NFL plays on Christmas Eve.
And the Steelers draw Christmas Day duty again.
The Steelers travel to Houston on NBC Monday at 4:30 p.m. Pittsburgh has already clinched a division title this season, while the Texans will be missing out on the postseason.
The NFL weekend begins Saturday at 4:30 p.m. when the Ravens host the Colts on NFL network. The Packers host the Vikings on NBC at 8:30 p.m.
The Redskins battle the Broncos Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS. Fox brings Falcons-Saints at 1 p.m., with the Seahawks’ trip to Dallas at 4:25 p.m.
The NBA has a full slate on Christmas Day, starting at noon when the 76ers visit the Knicks on ESPN.
ABC has the championship rematch between the Warriors and Cavaliers at 3 p.m., followed by Wizards-Celtics at 5:30 p.m.
The Thunder host the Rockets at 8 p.m. on ABC, then the Lakers take on the Timberwolves on TNT at 10:30 p.m.
TNT’s Thursday’s coverage starts at 8 p.m. when the Knicks face the Celtics. It’s Spurs-Jazz at 10:30 p.m.
NBC Sports Washington has the Wizards against Nets Friday at 7:30 p.m., with Saturday’s contest against the Magic at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington-plus.
The Clippers visit the Rockets on ESPN Friday at 8 p.m. before the Lakers face the Warriors.
The college bowl season continues Thursday at 8 p.m. with the Gasparilla Bowl matching Temple and Florida International on ESPN.
Ohio takes on Alabama-Birmingham in the Bahamas Bowl Friday at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN, followed by Central Michigan-Wyoming in the Famous Potato Bowl.
There’s three more bowls Saturday on ESPN, starting at noon with Texas Tech tangles with South Florida in the Birmingham Bowl. Army meets San Diego State in the Armed Forces Bowl at 3:30 p.m., and it’s Appalachian State against Toledo in the Dollar General Bowl.
Houston battles Fresno State Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.
On the college hardcourt, Connecticut clashes with Arizona on ESPN2 Thursday at 9 p.m. It’s Kansas-Stanford at 11 p.m.
FoxSports1 brings American-Marquette Thursday at 7 p.m. followed by Miami of Ohio against DePaul.
Butler battles Western Illinois on MASN2 Thursday at 7 p.m.
Northwestern tangles with Oklahoma on ESPN2 Friday at 7 p.m., then it’s Texas against Alabama.
Oklahoma State hosts Texas-Rio Grande Valley Friday at 1 p.m. on MASN2, followed by Abilene Christian-Texas Tech.
Sacred Heart tangles with Providence Friday at 6:30 p.m. on FoxSports1 then it’s Villanova’s trip to Hofstra and Southern Illinois going to Nevada at 11 p.m.
CBS offers North Carolina-Ohio State at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by Kentucky-UCLA.
There’s five games on ESPN2 Saturday, starting at 12:30 p.m. with Wake Forest-Tennessee. Connecticut takes on Auburn at 2:30 p.m. before the first semifinal of the Diamond Head Classic. Illinois meets Missouri at 8 p.m. and then it’s the second semifinal from Diamond Head.
Georgetown hosts Alabama A&M on FoxSports1 Saturday at noon. Southern Illinois meets Duquesne at 8:30 p.m. followed by San Francisco-Nevada.
Manhattan meets Seton Hall Saturday at noon on MASN2.
NBC Sports network brings Dayton-Wagner Saturday at 3 p.m.
The Capitals tangle with the Coyotes Thursday at 9 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington-plus and meet Vegas Saturday at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.
Arsenal takes on Liverpool Friday at 2:55 p.m. on NBC Sports network. Chelsea clashes with Everton Saturday at 7:25 a.m. and Manchester City meets AFC Bournemouth at 9:55 a.m.
NBC has a pair of contests Saturday, with Burnley meeting Tottenham Hotspurt at 12:30 p.m. followed by Leicester City-Manchester United.
NBC Sports network has rugby between the Leicester Tigers and Saracens Sunday at 10 a.m.

Bowling for trophies

Before the big games New Year’s Day and January 8, more than three dozen teams will be able to end their seasons with a win.
And a shining new trophy.
Bowl season starts Saturday at noon with the Celebration Bowl from Atlanta, matching North Carolina AT&T and Grambling on ABC.
Troy takes on North Texas in the New Orleans Bowl at 1 p.m. on ESPN, with Western Kentucky against Georgia State on CBS Sports network at 2:30 p.m.
Boise State battles Oregon on ABC in the Las Vegas Bowl at 3:30 p.m., with Marshall-Colorado State on ESPN in the New Mexico Bowl at 4:30 p.m. The day concludes with the Camellia Bowl between Middle Tennessee and Arkansas State.
In the Championship Series, it’s Sam Houston State against North Dakota State Friday at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.
Texas A&M Commerce meets West Florida for the Division II crown Saturday at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.
The NFL weekend begins Thursday with the Broncos facing the Colts on NBC.
NFL network has a pair of contests Saturday as the Bears battle the Lions at 4:30 p.m. before the Chargers take on the Chiefs at 8:25 p.m.
The Ravens visit the Browns Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS, followed by Patriots against Steelers in the late afternoon slot. The Redskins host the Cardinals on Fox at 1 p.m.
The Cowboys meet the Raiders on NBC Sunday night, and the Falcons and Bucs tangle on ESPN Monday night.
TNT offers Lakers-Cavaliers Thursday at 7 p.m., followed by Mavericks against Warriors.
The Thunder travel to Philadelphia Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPN, with Spurs-Rockets as the nightcap at 9:30 p.m.
The Wizards face the Clippers Friday at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington
On the college court, Baylor battles Texas Southern Thursday at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
FoxSports1 offers Creighton against Maryland-Eastern Shore Friday at 8 p.m.
Fox carries Butler-Purdue Saturday at noon, followed by Notre Dame’s contest with Indiana.
Georgetown hosts Syracuse Saturday at 12:30 p.m. on CBS, then it’s Cincinnati-UCLA.
ESPN2 has four contests Saturday, starting at noon with Louisville-Memphis. Virginia Tech takes on Kentucky at 2 p.m. and Oklahoma meets Wichita State at 4 p.m. The night concludes with Utah against BYU at 11 p.m.
DePaul faces Northwestern on FoxSports1 Saturday at 2 p.m., with Kansas visiting Nebraska at 8 p.m.
NBC Sports Washington offers North Carolina against North Carolina-Greensboro Saturday at noon.
Georgia meets Massachusetts on NBC Sports network Saturday at 3 p.m.
Xavier hosts East Tennessee State Saturday at 2 p.m. on MASN2.
North Carolina tangles with Tennessee Sunday at 3 p.m. on ESPN and FoxSports1 has Stony Brook-Providence at 2:30 p.m. followed by Iona against St. John’s.
On the women’s court, Cincinnati clashes with Ohio State on ESPN2 Sunday at 4 p.m.
ESPN2 has high school basketball between Memphis East and Missouri’s Webster Groves Thursday at 7 p.m.
The Capitals visit the Bruins Thursday at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington and host the Ducks Saturday at 8 p.m.
NBC Sports network brings Canadiens-Senators Saturday at 7 p.m.
The United States women face Canada on the ice Friday at 10 p.m. on NBC Sports network.
In the Premier League, Leicester City meets Crystal Palace Saturday at 7:25 a.m. on NBC Sports network.

It’s Manchester United against West Bromwich Albion Sunday at 9:10 a.m., followed by Bournemouth-Liverpool.
Stuttgart battles Bayern Munich Saturday at 9:30 a.m. on FoxSports1, with Hannover taking on Leverkusen Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
ESPN has the NCAA volleyball tournament semifinals Thursday, as top-seeded Penn State takes on Nebraska at 7 p.m. followed by Florida facing Stanford. The winners battle for the championship Saturday at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.
NBC Sports network has the U.S. Olympic Trials in curling mixed doubles Thursday at 7 p.m. There’s round robin competition Friday at 4 p.m., with semifinals Saturday at 10 p.m. and final Sunday at 4 p.m.
Short track speed skating has its trials Friday at 8:30 p.m.


Army ended a 14-year losing streak to Navy last season.
The Black Knights get their chance to extend their run Saturday, and claim the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy.
The service academies have their annual grudge match from Philadelphia on CBS at 3 p.m.
Army enters the contest 8-3, with plans to play in Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 23. Navy will be playing in the Military Bowl at their home field on Dec. 28, but has lost five of its last six games.
James Madison continues its quest for the Championship Series title Friday at 7 p.m., meeting Weber State on ESPN2. Wofford tangles with North Dakota State on ESPN2 Saturday at noon.
The Heisman Trophy gets presented Saturday at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
ESPN has the College Football Awards Thursday at 7 p.m.
NBC has the Falcons’ contest with the Saints Thursday at 8:25 p.m.
The Redskins visit the Chargers Sunday at 4:05 p.m. on CBS, while Fox brings Cowboys-Giants and the Eagles’ contest with the Rams in the late afternoon slot.
The Ravens tangle with the Steelers on NBC Sunday night, with Patriots-Dolphins on ESPN Monday night.
The MLS closes its season with Toronto meeting Seattle in a championship rematch Saturday at 4 p.m. on ESPN.
ESPN has the NCAA men’s soccer championship match Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Wizards take on the Suns Thursday at 9 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington and meet the Clippers Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
TNT offers the Lakers’ visit to Philadelphia Thursday at 8 p.m., with Rockets-Jazz in the nightcap.
The Warriors take on the Pistons Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPN, then the Celtics meet the Spurs at 9:30 p.m.
On the college court, Iowa takes on Iowa State Thursday at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. FoxSports1 has Valparaiso against Purdue at 6:30 p.m. and it’s Howard-Georgetown at 8:30 p.m.
Liberty hosts Maryland-Eastern Shore Friday at 7 p.m. on MASN, while Oklahoma faces Southern Cal on ESPN2 at 10:30 p.m.
Michigan meets UCLA on CBS Saturday at noon while Fox brings VCU-Seton Hall at 3 p.m.
Duke takes on Boston College Saturday at noon on ESPN, followed by Indiana-Louisville.
ESPN2 has five contests Saturday, starting at 4 p.m. with Wichita State-Oklahoma State. Florida faces Cincinnati at 6 p.m., then it’s West Virginia against Pittsburgh and Alabama-Arizona at 10 p.m. UNLV and Illinois tip at midnight.
Marquette meets Wisconsin on FoxSports1 Saturday at noon, with Nebraska-Creighton at 2:30 p.m. Colorado clashes with Xavier at 5 p.m.
Butler battles Youngstown State Saturday at noon on MASN2 and Baylor meets Randall at 7 p.m.
Dayton faces Pennsylvania on NBC Sports network Saturday at 3 p.m.
ESPN offers Kansas-Arizona State Sunday at 2 p.m. and FoxSports1 has the Philadelphia battle between LaSalle and Villanova at 1 p.m.
On the women’s court, MASN2 has UCLA-Oklahoma State Friday at 8 p.m. and Connecticut meets DePaul on FoxSports1 at 7 p.m.
Texas takes on Tennessee on ESPN2 Sunday at 3 p.m.
The Capitals host the Rangers Friday at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.
In the Europa League, Arsenal battles BATE on FoxSports1 Thursday at 3 p.m.
West Ham United clashes with Chelsea Saturday at 7:25 a.m. on NBC Sports network, followed by Tottenham Hotspur-Stoke City. NBC has Newcastle United against Leicester at 12:30 p.m.
Southampton battles Arsenal Sunday at 7 a.m., then Liverpool takes on Everton and Manchester United goes against Manchester City at 11:30 a.m.
Bayern Munich faces Eintracht in the Bundesliga on FoxSports1 Saturday at 9 a.m. It’s Koln-Freiburg Sunday at 7:20 a.m. and Hannover meets Hoffenheim at 9:30 a.m.