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Texas Tech's defense, offense serve notice in win

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Texas Tech's defense, offense serve notice in win

Texas Tech fell from the top-ranked pass defense in the country to fourth after allowing 275 yards through the air to West Virginia on Saturday.

It's doubtful the Red Raiders mind in the least, or have any doubts about the effectiveness of their secondary, after a 49-14 throttling of the Mountaineers.

Texas Tech entered its game with West Virginia allowing a paltry 117.4 yards passing per game, even after struggling in a 41-20 loss to Oklahoma a week earlier. The Red Raiders are now allowing 143.7 yards passing per game, but they held Heisman Trophy hopeful quarterback Geno Smith, who was 29 of 55 passing, to only five yards per attempt.

The win was enough to allow Texas Tech to jump into the weekly Associated Press college football poll this week at No. 18.

It also served notice that the Red Raiders' pass defense is for real.

AIR RAIDERS: The performance of Texas Tech's defense might have shocked some across the country, but it was quarterback Seth Doege and the Red Raiders' offense that enjoyed a coming-out party on the national stage.

Doege's 499 yards passing led the country this week. The senior was 32 of 42 passing and had six touchdowns, helping Texas Tech jump from seventh to fourth in the nation in passing offense with an average of 369 yards per game.

For those who wondered if Texas Tech would continue its wide-open attack in the post-Mike Leach era, third-year coach Tommy Tuberville has answered that question once and for all. The Red Raiders were seventh in the nation in passing in Tuberville's first season with an average of 318.9 yards per game, and they upped that to 345.4 last year - again finishing seventh nationally.

Most importantly, they've already equaled last season's win total this season.

TIGER PRIDE: West Virginia wasn't the only Top 5 team to go down this week. No. 3 South Carolina, a week after dispatching of Southeastern Conference East foe Georgia, ran into one of the top rushing defenses in the country at LSU.

The Tigers held the Gamecocks and standout running back Marcus Lattimore to just 34 yards overall rushing in their 23-21 win. South Carolina entered the game averaging 181.5 yards per game on the ground, but LSU's sixth-best rushing defense took control and is now allowing 89.3 yards rushing per game.

ROLL TIDE, ROLL: Not to be outdone by its SEC West rival, Alabama reminded everyone exactly who the top rushing defense in the country is in a 42-10 win over Missouri.

Or, top defense overall, for that matter.

The Crimson Tide allowed only three yards rushing by the Tigers, bolstered by sacking Missouri quarterback Corbin Berkstresser for minus 50 yards. The defending national champions are now allowing a 55.3 yards rushing per game, 181.2 yards overall - both tops in the country.

EXTRA POINTS: Louisiana Tech might have fallen from the AP poll after its 59-57 loss to Texas A&M, but it leads the country in scoring offense with 53.8 points per game. ... Oregon is second with an average of 52.3 points per game. ... Nevada running back Stefphon Jefferson had 185 yards rushing on 34 carries in a 42-27 win over Duke and leads the country with an average of 162.9 yards. ... Marshall's Rakeem Cato didn't play last week, but he has now passed West Virginia's Smith and is tops with 385.2 yards passing per game.

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Jimmy Butler requests trade, gives Timberwolves three preferred teams, not including Wizards

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USA Today Sports

Jimmy Butler requests trade, gives Timberwolves three preferred teams, not including Wizards

Just days before NBA training camps are set to begin, All-NBA guard Jimmy Butler is trying to force his way out of Minnesota.

The four-time All-Star has requested a trade from the Timberwolves and, according to ESPN, has given them a list of three preferred teams: the Knicks, Nets and Clippers. That list is extra-pertinent because Butler has a player option after this upcoming season, and he is reportedly willing to sign a contract extension with any of those three.

That does not mean the Wolves will honor his request, but any team other than those three that trades for him will be at risk of losing him after one year. That risk worked out well for the Thunder this past year in their trade for Paul George, but every situation is different.

Butler’s list tells us a few things about his priorities. For one, he wants to play in a major market. New York and L.A. are the top two markets in the NBA. To that point, it’s interesting he has omitted the Lakers.

The three teams Butler listed would give him no realistic chance of winning, at least in his first season. Either he’s taking a long-term approach to competing, or he would rather be the No. 1 guy on a bad team than the No. 2 or 3 star on a good team.

For those wondering if the Wizards would be a fit, those factors would seemingly work against them retaining him beyond one season. Though D.C. is a big market, it’s not L.A. or New York. And Butler would not be the clear star in Washington with two All-Stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal already in place.

That is all beyond what the Wizards would have to give up for Butler. Though he’s not quite Kawhi Leonard, the return probably wouldn’t be far off. The Raptors had to give up DeMar DeRozan, a perennial All-NBA selection, among other pieces. The Thunder had to part with Victor Oladipo in their package for George and that has since proven to be a steep price.

Maybe the Wizards could offer Otto Porter, Jr. and/or some combination of draft picks and young, emerging players. But it would be a hefty price given the risk of him potentially leaving, and though Butler is very good, he’s not as young or as good as Leonard, for comparison.

To give up the farm in a trade, that player better make his new team significantly better. It’s questionable if Butler could do that for the Wizards.

The Wizards have done their due diligence in checking in on George, Leonard and others who have become available in recent years. It would not be surprising if they make a call for Butler, but as of now not enough adds up to make it a perfect match.

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Maroon 5 to perform at Super Bowl LIII halftime show

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USA Today Sports

Maroon 5 to perform at Super Bowl LIII halftime show

Super Bowl LIII will be played in the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga., but the halftime musical performance will not be headlined by anyone from the A-T-L. 

Maroon 5 will take the stage in Atlanta on Feb. 3, according to Variety

The seven-man pop group will follow in the footsteps of Justin Timberlake, who performed during last year's halftime show in Minnesota. Notable recent performers include Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Bruno Mars, and the Black Eyed Peas.

Many expected the halftime performance to be an artist or group with Atlanta roots -- a city full of musical talent -- particulalry in hip-hop. Acts such as Usher, the Migos, Future, and Ludacris all come from the 'Big A.' But the NFL opted to go with the Los Angeles-based group instead. The NFL has not released a statement yet regarding the performer.

Maroon 5 has produced hits with many of today's musical stars, including a 2017 track with Future, as well as Cardi B and SZA. Should Maroon 5 want to bring out a suprise guest, they will have plenty of artists to choose from.

The NFL has seen several spectacular halftime performances, so it will be interesting to see where Maroon 5 will rank.