Athletics

Kyler Murray, Oklahoma selected to College Football Playoff field

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Kyler Murray, Oklahoma selected to College Football Playoff field

Kyler Murray’s college football career could end where he hopes his Major League Baseball career will begin -- in the Bay.

Oklahoma made the cut when the four-team College Football Playoff field was announced Sunday, so Murray and the Sooners (12-1) will play Alabama (13-0) on Dec. 29 in the Orange Bowl in Miami.

Should they shock the top-ranked Crimson Tide, they’d advance to the national championship game Jan. 7 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

[RELATED: Murray recreates iconic Bo Jackson photo in Heisman campaign]

Murray signed a $4.66 million contract with the A’s last summer and has said he’ll join them after one season as Oklahoma’s starting quarterback. That season has gone better than many might have believed: Murray should be a Heisman Trophy finalist after passing for 4,053 yards and 40 touchdowns, and running for 892 yards and 11 more scores in 13 games.

“He is a very dynamic guy in terms of athletic ability, his quickness, his ability to make plays with his feet,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said on ESPN, “and he’s turned into a really, really efficient passer who has good skill guys to make good plays to go along with the rest of their weapons.”

Murray’s athleticism has been on display all season, showing everyone why the A’s spent the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft on him. He’s an outfielder in baseball, and his swing looked pretty sweet during a visit to the Coliseum in June.

Clemson (13-0) will meet Notre Dame (12-0) in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29 in Arlington, Texas, in the other CFB semifinal.

Some believed Ohio State (12-1) and even Georgia (11-2) deserved to be in the CFP field over Oklahoma. But there are just four spots, the 13-member selection committee made its decision, and now it’s up to Murray and the Sooners to do the work.

A's vs. Rangers lineup: Jurickson Profar, Mark Canha return for series finale

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A's vs. Rangers lineup: Jurickson Profar, Mark Canha return for series finale

After being hammered by the A's 11-5 on Tuesday night, the Rangers got even more bad news Wednesday.

Left-hander Drew Smyly was expected to start on the mound, but he had to be sent to the injured list with tightness in his left arm. As a result, the Rangers will trot out reliever Kyle Dowdy for his first career start.

The A's eviscerated most of the Rangers' bullpen Tuesday, so getting to Dowdy early could spell trouble for Texas.

Oakland's lineup for Wednesday's matinee -- which serves as the East Bay appetizer for Warriors-Clippers Game 5 -- will look a little different. Jurickson Profar and Mark Canha both will return to the lineup after scheduled days off, while Chad Pinder moves to left field and Kendrys Morales and Robbie Grossman head to the bench.

Coverage of A's-Rangers begins at noon PT with A's Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming on the MyTeams app.

Here are the full lineups for Wednesday's A's vs. Rangers game:

Oakland A's (13-13)
SS Marcus Semien
3B Matt Chapman
RF Stephen Piscotty
DH Khris Davis
LF Chad Pinder
1B Mark Canha
2B Jurickson Profar
CF Ramon Laureano
C Nick Hundley

Aaron Brooks, RHP (2-2, 5.32 ERA)

Texas Rangers (12-10)
LF Shin-Soo Choo
2B Danny Santana
DH Joey Gallo
RF Nomar Mazara
3B Asdrubal Cabrera
SS Logan Forsythe
1B Patrick Wisdom
C Jeff Mathis
CF Delino DeShields

Kyle Dowdy, RHP (1-0, 3.48 ERA)

'Damn proud:' San Jose native Mark Canha elated following Sharks victory

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'Damn proud:' San Jose native Mark Canha elated following Sharks victory

OAKLAND – Mark Canha won two games Tuesday night, and he didn't even take the field.

The A's outfielder got a day off as Oakland beat Texas 11-5 at the Coliseum, but the San Jose native was just as happy about the Sharks' 5-4 comeback victory to beat the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"It's awesome," Canha said. "I knew they were going to win tonight. I didn't want to say anything all day. I kind of just kept it to myself. But I knew that there were some good vibes from the team, just the way they came out the last two games and played loose and got those wins. It seems like a very resilient team. I knew that they had it in them to win a big, emotional game tonight. They did it and I'm damn proud of them."

Canha, a diehard Sharks fan, and A's reliever Liam Hendriks actually opened the dressing room doors for the Sharks before Game 5 last Thursday. San Jose won that game 5-2 and rallied back from a 3-1 series deficit to win in seven games.

Canha says he knew from the Coliseum crowd Tuesday night that the Sharks were doing something big.

"I mean, I wasn't checking the score or anything, but I could tell," he said. "There were some cheers in the crowd during the game that I know were related because it would just be during a lull in the game and the crowd would erupt. So I figured something crazy was going on."

Canha was right. Trailing 3-0 in the third period, the Sharks scored four unanswered goals on a five-minute major power play to take the lead. After Vegas tied the game at four, San Jose won in overtime on a gorgeous goal by Barclay Goodrow.

[RELATED: Canha unleashes epic batflip]

"I saw what happened (on the jumbotron)," Canha said. "Sounds like they won in pretty spectacular fashion. I'm just super happy for them."

Meanwhile, Canha's A's have taken the first two games of their series against the Texas Rangers. They will go for the sweep Wednesday afternoon.