What Alabama's loss means for Notre Dame

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What Alabama's loss means for Notre Dame

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- In the span of three and a half hours Saturday afternoon, it's a pretty safe assumption that "Gig 'em" entered the lexicon of Notre Dame nation.

The legend of Johnny Football grew Saturday in Tuscaloosa, with Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel leading a stunning 29-24 Aggie win over the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide. The win sent shockwaves from coast to coast, as the group of unbeaten teams in college football shrunk to three.

While Alabama's loss was Notre Dame's gain, it wasn't a topic of discussion in the Irish locker room.

"Oh no. No no no. Absolutely not," coach Brian Kelly said, shaking his head. " We didn't even talk about it. We talked about what we have to do to win next week against Wake Forest."

That's the mentality Notre Dame has taken -- no player on the team will admit to caring about the results of Alabama, Kansas State or Oregon, even if they have a direct impact on their shot at a title. For Notre Dame, it's about controlling what they can control, which wasn't Manziel's terrific performance at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

"I was watching the game before. I didn't hear they lost, I knew they were down, but I was watching the game before," quarterback Everett Golson explained. "I turned it off a little bit and tried to get ready for this game right here, because that's all I could really control."

Notre Dame should move up to No. 3 in the newest BCS standings released Sunday, behind presumptive No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon. K-State topped TCU 23-10 in Fort Worth, while Oregon's offense was in its usual explosive state against Cal.

KSU faces Baylor in Waco and Texas in Manhattan to close out the year, while Oregon draws Stanford at home, Oregon State on the road and then probably USC at home in the Pac 12 championship game.

Notre Dame won't jump ahead of K-State or Oregon if all three teams finish undefeated, no matter how impressive or unimpressive the trio look in their final games. All Notre Dame can do is win out, although the Irish aren't co-opting the survive-and-advance mentality that permeates the NCAA basketball tournament.

"When you stop playing to win and start playing not to lose, that's when you start getting in trouble," linebacker Manti Te'o said. "We just gotta play Notre Dame football and come out every single week and start firing on all cylinders."

And no, a one-loss Alabama team won't leapfrog an undefeated Notre Dame side -- College Football Talk's John Taylor spoke to someone who knows the BCS formula, and that person didn't see an avenue for a one-loss team to be ranked ahead of an undefeated team at the end of the season.

Notre Dame's national championship hopes haven't completely crystallized yet. Even with Alabama out of the equation, there's still one more loss needed for the Irish to break through into the BCS Championship picture.

But they're one step closer to a top-two ranking and trip to Miami. First, though, they have to take care of their own business -- which, as the Irish have experienced this season, won't be easy.

"It's only as real as Wake Forest," Te'o said of Notre Dame's championship aspirations. "We have to deal with Wake Forest and play one game at a time. That's proof that it's college football. Any team can lose at any time. We just don't want to be that team."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bulls welcome Cavaliers to town

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bulls welcome Cavaliers to town

In the latest installment of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, the panel previews the Bulls' matchup against the Cavaliers. 

Luke Stuckmeyer is joined by Mark Carman (WGN Radio), David Schuster (670 The Score) and Kendall Gill to break down the keys to a Bulls win. Later, Vincent Goodwill (CSNChicago.com) joins Luke to discuss the team's progress. 

Finally, LeBron James pays off his World Series bet and the entire media world is there to see it. 

Check out the SportsTalk Live Podcast below: 

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

Brett Lawrie and Avisail Garcia will both return to the White Sox in 2017.

The team announced it reached deals with both players shortly before Friday’s 7 p.m. CST nontender deadline. Lawrie will earn $3.5 million next season and Garcia received a one-year deal for $3 million.

The club didn’t tender a contract to right-handed pitcher Blake Smith, which leaves its 40-man roster at 38.

Acquired last December for a pair of minor leaguers, Lawrie hit .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs, 22 doubles and 36 RBIs in 94 games before he suffered a season-ending injury.

Lawrie produced 0.9 f-WAR when he suffered what then-manager Robin Ventura described a “tricky” injury on July 21. Despite numerous tests and a lengthy rehab, Lawrie never returned to the field and was frustrated by the experience. Last month, Lawrie tweeted that he believes the cause of his injury was wearing orthotics for the first time in his career.

He was projected to earn $5.1 million, according to MLBTraderumors.com and earned $4.125 million in 2016.

Garcia hit .245/.307/.385 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 453 plate appearances over 120 games. The projected salary for Garcia, arb-eligible for the first time, was $3.4 million.

The team also offered contracts to Miguel Gonzalez and Todd Frazier, who are eligible for free agency in 2018, first baseman Jose Abreu and relievers Dan Jennings, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka, among others.

The White Sox have until mid-January to reach an agreement with their arbitration-eligible players. If they haven’t, both sides submit figures for arbitration cases, which are then heard throughout February.