Top teams face off in College Football Playoff
The next step to crowning a college football national champion will be taken Saturday as the playoff commences with the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl. The action gets started at 4 p.m. ET as Notre Dame faces Clemson – who will be without star defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence – at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. No. 1 Alabama will then take on the Oklahoma Sooners and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray at 8 p.m. in Miami. The winner of those two games will meet in the national championship game on Jan. 7 in Santa Clara, Calif.
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Utah to lower legal standard for drunken-driving
On Sunday, Utah will become the first state to lower the legal standard for driving under the influence from the nationally recognized .08 to .05, a move that comes 35 years after the Beehive State was among the first to move away from a .10 legal limit. Opponents argued that this slight adjustment to the BAC limit targets only casual drinkers, not the more dangerous heavy ones. Research shows that the risk of being involved in a fatal crash increases significantly after a driver reaches or surpasses a .05 BAC. Four other states — New York, Washington, Hawaii and Delaware — considered legislation in the past two years to reduce the limit to .05. Only Utah implemented the more stringent law.
Second winter storm is headed for the Southwest
The weather isn’t going quietly into the new year, thanks to a pair of blizzards and a widespread flood threat. One snowstorm is bringing blizzard conditions to portions of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest and a second is spreading heavy snow from Arizona to the Texas Panhandle. The second winter storm, hitting parts of the Southwest, is expected to wreak havoc through Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, drenching rain on the waterlogged southern and eastern United States has prompted flood watches and warnings that are affecting 50 million people. At least three deaths have been blamed on the weather over the past couple of days.
Migrant children’s deaths: DHS chief to visit Arizona as microscope intensifies
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen is scheduled to visit Yuma, Arizona, on Saturday as she continues to review conditions at Border Patrol stations following the deaths this month of two migrant children who were in federal custody. The deaths of Jakelin Caal, 7, and Felipe Gómez Alonzo, 8, prompted widespread outcry and, this week, Nielsen announced “a series of extraordinary protective measures,” adding health screenings and more medical professionals for migrant children. But concerns about migrant children becoming sick — and the lack of medical care for them in ill-equipped Border Patrol stations — were far from new. In an interview with The Arizona Republic, part of the USA TODAY Network, federal officials defended their handling of migrants and said border agents were not expected to be medical professionals.
NFL’s Week 17 full of major playoff implications
Raise your hand if you predicted that the Colts and Titans would play in the most important game on the final Sunday of the 2018 NFL season. Before the regular-season finale on “Sunday Night Football” decides which of those teams gets the last remaining playoff spot, a lot will need to be sorted out that afternoon. Three playoff berths are still up for grabs, including which team gets home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Also, the Steelers’ playoff hopes lie in the hands of their rival Browns. Check out our staff picks for the final week of the regular season.
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