Playoff Takeaways: OK, committee, Alabama or Ohio State?

Playoff Takeaways: OK, committee, Alabama or Ohio State?

There are plenty of reasons to leave Ohio State and Alabama out of the College Football Playoff.

But the rules say the selection committee has to pick four teams so one of them is most certainly getting in.

In the fourth year of the playoff, the selection committee faces its toughest choice yet. A real controversy, one with no particularly good answer. The committee will let everyone know which four teams will be playing in the New Year’s Day semifinals on Sunday. Three will be easy: Defending national champion Clemson, Southeastern Conference champion Georgia and Big 12 champ Oklahoma are getting in.

Then it’s … Alabama? Or Ohio State?

Two of college football’s blues bloods, biggest brands and historically successful teams. Also, two teams many fans love to hate. No matter the committee’s decision there will be complaints of favoritism and conspiracy theories.

Did you know Ohio State’s athletic director, Gene Smith, is on the committee? He is recused when the Buckeyes are discussed, and you can bet there will be a lot of discussion about `Bama and the Buckeyes.

The lobbying started immediately after the Buckeyes handed Wisconsin its first loss of the season, 27-21, in the Big Ten title game Saturday night.

Alabama coach Nick Saban was on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” making his pitch: “I think you have to look at the whole body of work. The entire season. If you look at it like that I think our team gets strong consideration and is very deserving to be in the playoff.”

At almost the same time, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was accepting a Big Ten championship trophy in Indianapolis, touting his team: “We have two wins over two top-four teams (Penn State was No. 2 when the Buckeyes beat it). We’re the conference champions. We deserve a shot.”

The case for and against each:

Alabama (11-1, CFP No. 5)

Pros

— The Crimson Tide always win the eye test. No team has a more talented and deeper roster.

— Alabama’s only loss was by 12 at Auburn (10-3), a team that even after losing the SEC title game to Georgia will probably finish in the committee’s top 10.

— Other than the Auburn game, Alabama’s only real challenge came at Mississippi State. The Tide won by eight at Texas A&M, but the Aggies’ scored in the last 20 seconds to make that look closer than it was.

Cons

— Alabama’s best victories will be against LSU (9-3) and Mississippi State (8-4). They are likely the only teams Alabama beat that will be ranked Sunday. LSU was 17 last week.

— Alabama did not win its division, let alone its conference. That was not a problem last year for Ohio State, but those 11-1 Buckeyes had victories over three top-10 teams and a three-point loss on the road to another top-10 team.

Ohio State (11-2, CFP No. 8)

Pros

— The Buckeyes do just fine with the eye test, too.

— Ohio State has victories against three teams (Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State) that are all likely to be ranked ahead of Alabama’s best victory.

— The Buckeyes are Big Ten champions and selection committee protocol directs the committee to use championships won as something of a tiebreaker if teams are similar.

Cons

— The Buckeyes not only lost twice, but both loses were by double-digits, including a 31-point drubbing at Iowa (7-5).

— Did we mention that the Buckeyes lost 55-24 to Iowa?

Strength of schedule, according to Sagarin ratings.

Alabama, 54th toughest in Division I.

Ohio State, 42nd before playing Wisconsin.

The System

Last season Ohio State became the first team to make the playoff without winning its conference. This season the Buckeyes are trying to become the first team with two losses to get in. If Alabama gets in, it will be the first time two teams from the same conference get in. And while the SEC has typically been the best or close to the best conference in college football, this has not been a season in which it has stood clearly above the rest.

Ohio State got in last year without winning the Big Ten and the league champion, Penn State, did not. What is the committee’s appetite for leaving two Power Five conferences out of the playoff (sorry, Pac-12)? It should not matter. The committee is charged with picking the best four teams. But can’t help but wonder if it plays into the thought process.

GOING HOME A CHAMPION

All signs pointed in this direction so it was no surprise when, after Scott Frost was done leading Central Florida to the American Athletic Conference championship, he was announced as Nebraska’s next coach.

The Knights are unbeaten and likely heading to the Peach Bowl as the highest-ranked champion from outside the Power Five conferences. No doubt some fans will wonder why UCF doesn’t get a chance to play in the final four, but the schedule lacks big nonconference wins. It might not be fair, but unless the playoff expands it will always be a long shot for the teams outside the Power Five.

HUSKIES?

TCU’s lose could open up a spot in the New Year’s six for a team that has not been talked about much since the rankings started coming out. Washington was 13th last week, right behind Stanford and TCU, which both lost. Unless TCU (10-3) stays ahead or the committee reconsiders Notre Dame (9-3) the Huskies (10-2) could be headed to the Cotton Bowl.

PROJECTIONS

Here’s how the New Year’s Six could shake out.

Sugar Bowl: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Alabama.

Rose Bowl: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Georgia.

Fiesta Bowl: USC vs. Ohio State.

Peach Bowl: UCF vs. Auburn.

Cotton Bowl: Washington vs. Penn State

Orange Bowl: Miami vs. Wisconsin.

Capitals continue success vs. Bobrovsky, beat Blue Jackets

Facing one of the NHL’s supreme goaltenders in Sergei Bobrovsky, the Washington Capitals were glad to have another in Braden Holtby.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facing one of the NHL’s supreme goaltenders in Sergei Bobrovsky, the Washington Capitals were glad to have another in Braden Holtby.

Holtby stopped 32 of 35 shots as the Capitals continued their domination of Bobrovsky and the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 4-3 victory Saturday night. The Metropolitan Division-leading Blue Jackets overcame a slow start to control much of the play in the second half of back-to-back games, but late second- and early third-period goals by Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov were enough to help Washington win for the fifth time in its past seven.

“We knew when Holts play like that, it’s very hard to score against him,” Ovechkin said. “He save us, and he give us two points.”

Coach Barry Trotz called Holtby the Capitals’ best player in a matchup of the past two Vezina Trophy-winning goalies. Holtby made 16 saves in the third period when Columbus outshot Washington 17-3, including a glove stop on Capitals killer Cam Atkinson with just under four minutes left.

“Braden was the reason we won,” Trotz said. “He was the best player on the ice.”

Holtby felt for Bobrovsky, who allowed goals to Brett Connolly and Alex Chiasson on two of the first three shots he faced. Bobrovsky settled in to stop the next 16, but the damage was done.

“As any goalie knows, if the first couple shots are scoring chances, they’re tough to handle,” Holtby said. “That was good on us that we executed that.”

Columbus got an even-strength goal from Artemi Panarin and a short-handed goal by Matt Calvert in the second to tie it before Ovechkin scored on the power play with 47.6 seconds left in the period. Ovechkin’s 218th power-play goal put him into 10th place on the NHL’s career list and his 577th overall tied him with Hall of Famer Mark Recchi for 20th.

Bobrovsky fell to 6-8-4 with a 3.02 goals-against average and .902 save percentage in his career against Washington.

“It’s not his fault on those goals,” said Kuznetsov, who became the 14th Capitals player to score on Bobrovsky since the start of the 2015-16 season. “I feel like we just make the great plays. I believe it’s not easy to play against us, every goalie, especially on home ice.”

The Blue Jackets certainly didn’t make it easy on Bobrovsky, who was given a couple of games off before this one. Leaving Connolly and Chiasson wide open in front and Boone Jenner taking consecutive holding penalties proved costly for Columbus, which had won eight of its past nine.

“Other than the beginning, the first couple of minutes there where we have a couple of blown coverages in the middle of the ice, I thought we showed some resiliency,” coach John Tortorella said. “We take two offensive zone penalties back-to-back. Have a bad change on one goal. Those are the things that hurt you in this type of game.”

It also hurt the Blue Jackets that after Zach Werenski cut the Capitals’ lead to 4-3, Pierre-Luc Dubois clanked a shot off the post in the final two minutes. Panarin might’ve been able to tap in the rebound but had his stick lifted by Jay Beagle and appeared to raise his stick in the air in celebration thinking the puck was in.

“I’m not sure if he celebrated a little too early or what,” Tortorella said.

The Capitals were hardly celebrating after being outshot 35-23 by the Blue Jackets, who grinded out a victory at home against Anaheim on Friday night. But they’ll gladly take the points in what was considered something of a measuring-stick game.

“We kind of knew where they were in the standings and where we were,” said Connolly, who scored in his return after being a healthy scratch for two games. “That was a good team over there that we just beat. It just proves that we can beat anyone.”

NOTES: Trotz said F Chandler Stephenson is day-to-day with an upper-body injury and would be re-evaluated Sunday. Stephenson left the game in the second period after taking a big hit from Seth Jones. … Calvert returned after missing the past 12 games with an upper-body injury and scored his first short-handed goal of the season. … Columbus put D Ryan Murray on injured reserve and listed D Markus Nutivaara as day-to-day with upper-body injuries.

UP NEXT

Blue Jackets: Host New Jersey on Tuesday night, the first of a home-and-home series between the top two teams in the Metropolitan Division.

Capitals: Continue their five-game homestand Monday night against hot San Jose.

Coyotes get 26 saves from Wedgewood in 5-0 shutout of Devils

Wedgewood posts second career shutout and first since joining Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Scott Wedgewood wanted to play well against his former team. He ended up with his second career shutout.

Wedgewood stopped 27 shots to lead the Arizona Coyotes to a 5-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.

Wedgewood was playing in place of the injured Antti Raanta and facing New Jersey for the first time since the Devils traded him to the Coyotes in October. Two of his saves came in back-to-back fashion early in the second period when he turned away attempts from Travis Zajac and Drew Stafford from close range.

Another was perhaps more impressive, when Wedgewood sent away a point-blank shot from Stefan Noesen with his pad with just under eight minutes remaining in the second.

“That’s as far as I can reach, I don’t think I can go any further,” Wedgewood said. “I was lucky enough that he hit me with it.”

Derek Stepan had a goal and an assist, and Jason Demers, Jordan Martinook, Alex Goligoski and Dylan Strome also scored for Arizona, which snapped a three-game losing streak and won at home in regulation for the first time this season. Kevin Connauton and Christian Fischer each had two assists.

Keith Kinkaid finished with 22 saves for New Jersey, which came in with the NHL’s best road record at 9-2-2.

Demers scored into the top far corner of the net 34 seconds into the game off a pass from Stepan. It marked the third straight start that Kinkaid allowed a goal in the opening minute.

How’s that for starting fast! 34 seconds, 1 goal. Jason Demers gives @ArizonaCoyotes the lead. pic.twitter.com/Wsqpxohxnu

— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) December 3, 2017

“I thought four out of the five goals were gifts,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “Not the recipe you want to have particularly coming into a back-to-back game.”

Stepan then made it 2-0 when when Devils defenseman John Moore couldn’t clear the puck on a 2-on-1 rush. Moore bobbled the puck away off his stick to Tobias Rieder, who pushed it to Stepan and the Coyotes’ center stuffed the puck past Kinkaid for his fourth with 25 seconds to go in the first.

Martinook was credited with a goal with 2:52 remaining in the second when Connauton’s long shot zipped through traffic in front of the New Jersey net and past Kinkaid.

“It’s nice to get rewarded,” Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said. “Guys made some good plays.”

Goligoski made it 4-0 with under eight minutes left in the third, and Strome scored his first career goal about 90 seconds later.

“Very happy, very relieved to get that first one, obviously the first one is the hardest to get,” the 20-year-old Strome.

Arizona got its seventh win of the season, breaking a tie with Buffalo — which lost to Pittsburgh —

NOTES:Coyotes D Jakob Chychrun has been out all season with a lower-body injury, but could make his season debut Sunday night in Las Vegas. … F Anthony Duclair returned after being scratched the past two games and had an assist. … Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo was on hand for the ceremonial first puck drop, honored by the Coyotes for recently being named the 2017 National League Manager of the Year. … F Pavel Zacha and D Steven Santini were healthy scratches for the Devils. Zacha had played the past six games, and Santini was held out for the second straight game.

UP NEXT

Coyotes: At Vegas on Sunday night.

Miami cruises past Princeton with ease in HoopHall Miami Invitational

DJ Vasiljevic scored 20 points, Bruce Brown Jr. added 17 and No. 10 Miami had little trouble on the way to topping Princeton 80-52 .

MIAMI (AP) — The first thing that Miami coach Jim Larranaga noticed on the postgame stat sheet was 3-point shooting, and even he was a little surprised by the numbers.

Safe to say, he was pleased.

DJ Vasiljevic scored 20 points, Bruce Brown Jr. added 17 and No. 10 Miami had little trouble on the way to topping Princeton 80-52 in the HoopHall Miami Invitational on Saturday night.

Miami (7-0) shot 14 for 25 from 3-point range. The Hurricanes’ record for 3s in a game is 15, and the 14 makes were their most in nearly three years.

“We have great guards on this team and the bigs are playing tremendous,” Brown said. “So I think as a collective group, we’re a hard team to stop.”

Vasiljevic and Brown were highly efficient, shooting a combined 13 for 17 from the field and 9 for 12 from 3-point range. Lonnie Walker IV had a season-high 12 points for Miami, Anthony Lawrence added 10 rebounds for the Hurricanes, Brown had eight rebounds and Ja’Quan Newton had five assists against no turnovers.

“Their help defense is very good,” Larranaga said, speaking of Princeton. “That requires you then to find the open man and shoot a 3. And Bruce Brown and DJ Vasiljevic were on fire from 3-point range.”

It wasn’t just from long range — Miami outscored Princeton 30-12 in the paint.

Amir Bell scored 13 for Princeton (2-5), which got 11 points apiece from Devin Cannady and Myles Stephens. Sebastian Much missed all 10 of his shots, nine of those from 3-point range.

Princeton led 16-14 midway through the first half, and that was its final hurrah.

Miami closed the half on a 24-4 run to take a 38-20 lead, a spurt that included 13 unanswered points, 11 points from Brown in less than 5 minutes and forcing Princeton into 10 consecutive missed shots.

“We were feeling good for about 10 minutes,” Princeton coach Mitch Henderson said. “And they are really good. They make shots, they do a lot of things well. Brown killed us.”

The Tigers got within 14 early in the second half, but Miami never ceded control. And if there was any doubt, Miami went on a 10-0 run capped by an NBA-range 3-pointer from Vasiljevic for a 70-44 lead with 5 minutes remaining.

It was the second game of the day in Miami, with No. 2 Kansas topping Syracuse 76-60 in the early contest. There were several thousand more fans in the stands for that game than there was for the Hurricanes game, for one big reason — the Miami-Princeton basketball game started around the exact same time as the Miami-Clemson game for the Atlantic Coast Conference football title.

BIG PICTURE

Princeton: Tigers assistant coach Kerry Kittles, the former Villanova star, had some big nights at AmericanAirlines Arena during his NBA career. He scored 27 for New Jersey against the Heat in 2001, and 24 at Miami in 2000. … Princeton started 3 for 4 from the field, then immediately followed that with a 3-for-18 stretch.

Miami: The Hurricanes haven’t faced more than a seven-point deficit in the first seven games. They trailed for 3:46 in the early going Saturday, and have trailed for a total of 25 minutes — out of 280 played this season. … Miami improved to 4-2 all-time in the current Heat home arena. Both the Hurricanes and the Heat used to call now-demolished Miami Arena home in the 1990s.

ROAD WARRIORS

These teams are going to log some serious air miles in December. Combined, the Hurricanes and Tigers will play 13 of their 15 games this month away from their home courts. Both will play at George Washington this month, and Miami and Princeton could face off again on Christmas Day — they’re on opposite sides of the bracket at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii.

UP NEXT

Princeton: Visits George Washington on Wednesday, the programs’ first meeting since 2009.

Miami: Hosts Boston University on Tuesday, the Hurricanes’ only true home game in December.

Tom Hanks says ‘it’s never too late to change things’ following sexual misconduct uproar in Hollywood

Two-time Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks discussed the bombshell sexual misconduct allegations that have rocked Hollywood recently, saying “it’s never too late to change things.”
Tom Hanks said the environment in Hollywood could change following numerous sexual misconduct allegations against powerful people in the movie industry.

Tom Hanks said the environment in Hollywood could change following numerous sexual misconduct allegations against powerful people in the movie industry. (Reuters)

Two-time Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks discussed the bombshell sexual misconduct allegations that have rocked Hollywood recently, saying “it’s never too late to change things.”

Hank, in a Hollywood Reporter roundtable discussion with other actors William Dafoe, Sam Rockwell, James Franco, Gary Oldman and John Boyega, said he believed Hollywood’s environment could change if people obeyed “a code of professional ethics.”

MATT LAUER TO SANDRA BULLOCK IN 2009 INTERVIEW: ‘I HAVE SEEN YOU NAKED’

“It’s never too late to change things… and that’s the responsibility of anybody who wants to obey a code of professional ethics,” Hanks said.

Hanks described working as an executive producer and making movies was a “life experience that can create an awful lot of joy” but bad things can happen as well.

“The bad stuff can happen on a movie as well,” Hanks said. “There’s some people that go into this business because they got off on having power. We produced a project in which someone said, ‘There’s an element of harassment that’s going on here.’ And as soon as we heard, you’ve got to jump right in. You talk to everyone, the guilds and you find out what happened.”

RUSSELL SIMMONS REMOVED FROM HBO’S UPCOMING ‘ALL DEF COMEDY’ SERIES

Hanks believed there could be a predatory aspect of a movie set due to being on the road and believing some rules do not apply.

“There’s the other aspect of it is that, ‘Come try to get this job from me. You want me to give you a job? Come on. Come. Come prove to me that you want this job,’” the “Forrest Gump” actor said. “That’s a sin, and that’s against the law and that is a degree of harassment and predatory behavior that goes against an assumed code of ethics.”

Following bombshell sexual misconduct allegations against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, a number of actors and actresses have spoken out about the alleged harassment they have endured in the industry.

ABC’s Brian Ross again under fire for explosive error on Trump, Flynn

ABC’s famously error-prone chief investigative correspondent, Brian Ross was at it again on Friday when the network was forced to issue an embarrassing correction when Ross botched a bombshell “exclusive” about retired general Michael Flynn.
Network clarifies report to say Flynn was directed to speak with Russians during the presidential transition.

ABC issues correction on report about Michael Flynn

Network clarifies report to say Flynn was directed to speak with Russians during the presidential transition.

ABC’s famously error-prone chief investigative correspondent, Brian Ross was at it again on Friday when the network was forced to issue an embarrassing correction when Ross botched a bombshell “exclusive” about retired general Michael Flynn.

An ABC spokesperson declined to comment on whether Ross will be disciplined. He has not been sanctioned for past errors.

Ross’s report, delivered live to ABC stations during a “special report” on Friday, said that Flynn would testify that Donald Trump had ordered him to make contact with Russians about foreign policy while he was still a candidate – which raised the specter of impeachment and sent the Dow careening down.

Later in the day, ABC issued a “clarification” to Ross’s report, saying that Trump’s alleged directive came during the transition, after he’d been elected president– a key distinction.

After Ross misreported the news on Friday morning, he appeared on “World News Tonight” to correct himself.

“During a live Special Report, ABC News reported that a confidant of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn said Flynn was prepared to testify that then-candidate Donald Trump instructed him to contact Russian officials during the campaign,” the correction noted. “That source later clarified that during the campaign, Trump assigned Flynn and a small circle of other senior advisers to find ways to repair relations with Russia and other hot spots. It was shortly after the election, that President-elect Trump directed Flynn to contact Russian officials on topics that included working jointly against ISIS.”

CORRECTION of ABC News Special Report: Flynn prepared to testify that President-elect Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians *during the transition* — initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria, confidant now says. https://t.co/ewrkVZTu2Kpic.twitter.com/URLiHf3uSm

— ABC News (@ABC) December 2, 2017

That Ross’ original report had sharply moved the markets with ABC’s trademark anti-Trump reporting caused some reflection about the influence of the liberal media not just on policy, but on the economy.

Fox News contributor Stephen Miller sarcastically tweeted, “I for one can’t tell you how excited I am that a major media conglomerate has now realized they can manipulate the stock market at will.”

I for one can’t tell you how excited I am that a major media conglomerate has now realized they can manipulate the stock market at will

— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) December 2, 2017

As reported earlier, an ABC spokesperson didn’t respond when Fox News asked if Ross would be disciplined, but it’s hardly his first time the chief investigative correspondent has embarrassed his news division.

Political blogger Charles P. Pierce even predicted the report would be false, based solely on Ross’ reputation.

“I’m going to hold fire on the ABC report. Ross has been known to get out over his skis. But, if it’s true, that’s the ballgame,” Pierce tweeted roughly six hours before the correction.

I’m going to hold fire on the ABC report. Ross has been known to get out over his skis. But, if it’s true, that’s the ballgame.

— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) December 1, 2017

Even CNN’s liberal media reporter, Brian Stelter appeared to be calling for Ross’ head, asking if there would be discipline.

ABC’s outrageous error: Will there be disciplinary action? The network declined to say when @oliverdarcy asked. Details in @ReliableSources: https://t.co/s7kfwAjkOi

— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 2, 2017

President Trump’s son, Donald, predicted on Twitter Saturday there would be no disciplinary action against Ross because “the truth doesn’t fit the narrative.”

They won’t as the truth doesn’t fit the narrative. #fakenewshttps://t.co/sBswJZm3oy

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 2, 2017

He added in a subsequent post that “the same error about his predecessor would have been met with real consequences.”

No there will be none because the error was adverse to @realDonaldTrump… the same error about his predecessor would have been met with real consequences. @abc#fakenewshttps://t.co/GJERhSZRNm

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 2, 2017

Back in 2012, Gawker famously labeled Ross “America’s Wrongest Reporter” and said he was “breathtakingly reckless” after he said the Aurora, Colorado movie theatre shooter may have had Tea Party ties, based simply on his discovery that someone he found on the Internet shared the name James Holmes with the shooter.

“When there’s breaking news, especially about terrorism and national security, ABC News’ Brian Ross is there. And under no circumstances should you listen to anything he says,” Gawker’s John Cook wrote.

Cook went on to list a handful of Ross’ notorious legacy of mishaps, including falsely connecting domestic anthrax attacks to Iraq. Cook reminded readers to “Never, ever listen to anything Ross reports unless and until it has been confirmed by another, better, reporter.”

Ross has caused trouble for ABC News many more times in his more than two decades with the network. His report “Taking on Toyota” was widely criticized for relying on data from trial lawyers. He’s also stirred controversy with disputed reporting on the Detroit “underwear bomber”.

To his credit, Ross is also one of the most decorated investigative reporters in the business, winning more journalistic awards than can easily be counted.

Perhaps that’s why ABC News has kept him around — at a reported seven figure salary — despite the long series of embarrassments. In recent years, according to sources, ABC has cut the size of Ross’ team of producers, and provided him with fewer on-air platforms for his reporting. An ABC insider said, however, that this had less to do with Ross’ errors than with ABC’s diminished disinterest in hard news and investigative reporting.

Reliably liberal ABC News has however continued its drumbeat of anti-Trump reporting, employing former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos as its principle anchor. ABC’s Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz was called out by then-President elect Trump for crying on air on election night (she denies this) and former President Obama attended her second of three weddings.

ABC’s beleaguered entertainment programming is also notoriously liberal, with the network recently shelling out an eye-popping $25 million to employ Clinton activist Katy Perry as a judge for a revised season of “American Idol”.

Meanwhile, Disney CEO Bob Iger is widely reported to have ambitions to run for the White House himself and plans to step down prior to the 2020 and could challenge Trump as the Democratic nominee.

ABC News simply responded with the link to a tweet offering the correction when reached for comment.

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.

Matt Lauer’s wife reportedly leaves New York home following sexual misconduct allegations

Matt Lauer’s wife, Annette Roque, has reportedly jetted back home to her native country the Netherlands amid the bombshell sexual misconduct allegations against the former “Today” co-host.
Matt Lauer’s wife, Annette Roque, reportedly left their New York home and went to her native the Netherlands.

Matt Lauer’s wife, Annette Roque, reportedly left their New York home and went to her native the Netherlands. (Reuters)

Matt Lauer’s wife has reportedly left their New York home and jetted to her native country the Netherlands amid the bombshell sexual misconduct allegations against the former “Today” show co-host.

Annette Roque, a former model, was last spotted at their home in the Hamptons, Long Island, Wednesday, the same day NBC News announced they were terminating the “Today” show co-host for “inappropriate sexual behavior,” Page Six reported.

MATT LAUER WANTS $30 MILLION FROM NBC AFTER HIS FIRING FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT, REPORT SAYS

A source told Page Six Roque has left for her family’s home near Amsterdam. It was not clear if the couple’s three children went with their mother or remained in New York.

Roque, who has been married to Lauer for 20 years, has not released a statement or comment regarding her husband’s termination and alleged sexual misconduct.

Lauer’s representatives have not commented on the state of the former anchor’s marriage.

Lauer and Roque’s marriage has been rocky since 2006. Roque filed for divorce in 2006 but did not follow through, People reported. A source told Page Six the TV host offered Roque a post-nuptial agreement as she filed for divorce. He reportedly offered the former model $5 million to stay in the marriage.

“Matt needed to stay in the marriage to keep his reputation as America’s nicest dad. He is in fact a great, and very doting dad to his kids, but he is also a terrible husband,” a source told Page Six.

Earlier this week, People released a report stating it was no secret that Lauer cheated on his wife.

MATT LAUER TO SANDRA BULLOCK IN 2009 INTERVIEW: ‘I HAVE SEEN YOU NAKED’

“He regularly cheated on his wife,” one source told the magazine. “Everyone knew. His wife lives in the Hamptons and he lives in the city, but we never heard he made unwanted moves.”

Lauer told People in 2010 that he and Roque have not had a perfect marriage.

“Have we had a completely perfect, easy marriage? No,” Lauer said. “But the stories you’ve read over the years are not true. The accusations (of infidelity) are ridiculous and I’m not going to (dignify) them with an answer. It’s not true.”

NY Times reporter claims President Trump talks to dead people

New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor either thinks President Trump has the ability to communicate with the deceased, or she made an embarrassing mistake on live TV, and claimed he still communicate with the late Fox News founder Roger Ailes.
New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor attends the Root 100 Gala, honoring influential African-Americans, in New York City, Nov. 9, 2017.

New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor attends the Root 100 Gala, honoring influential African-Americans, in New York City, Nov. 9, 2017. (Brent N. Clarke/Invision via Associated Press)

New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor either thinks President Donald Trump has the ability to communicate with the deceased, or she made an embarrassing mistake on live TV, and claimed he still can communicate with the late Fox News founder Roger Ailes.

The reporter appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” on Thursday evening and said that Trump speaks to Ailes on a regular basis when discussing who the president takes seriously and respects.

“Who he actually pays attention to are all the people he calls up on the phone. Roger Ailes.All these other people that are just kind of out in the world. Steve Bannon … ,” Alcindor said.

Alcindor, who is also an MSNBC contributor, covers Congress, race and social justice issues for the Times. She was quickly corrected by Matthews, who chimed in, “years ago – Roger Ailes.”

Alcindor and Matthews briefly laughed at her on-air gaffe before the MSNBC host told another guest to go ahead with her point.

It’s possible that Alcindor simply meant to say a different name, or perhaps she didn’t realize that Ailes died at age 77 on May 18 from complications of a head injury. If she has some sort of scoop that involves Trump practicing mediumship, well, that would be major news.

Ailes suffered the injury during a fall at his Florida home.

According to the Palm Beach County medical examiner, “Hemophilia contributed to his death and his manner of death was accidental. There was no evidence of foul play.”

Prior to Ailes’ death, conversations between Ailes and Trump were frequently reported despite the fact that their relationship was sometimes contentious.

Alcindor did not respond to a request for comment.

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.

NBC News boss, under fire, announces review of Matt Lauer allegations, vows ‘most severe’ punishment for those who kept silent

Embattled NBC News President Noah Oppenheim told employees Friday that he had launched an investigation into who knew about fired “Today” host Matt Lauer’s bad behavior and didn’t report it — and promised harsh retribution for any employee who had kept silent.
Variety reports many NBC News hosts and executives knew about fired 'Today' show anchor Matt Lauer's crewd behavior. #Tucker

Sex toys, lies and the open secrets about Matt Lauer

Variety reports many NBC News hosts and executives knew about fired ‘Today’ show anchor Matt Lauer’s crewd behavior. #Tucker

Embattled NBC News President Noah Oppenheim told employees Friday that he had launched an investigation into who knew about fired “Today” host Matt Lauer’s bad behavior and didn’t report it — and promised harsh retribution for any employee who had kept silent.

The New York Post reported that Oppenheim made the comments at a tense meeting with the staff of NBC’s prestigious “Nightly News” program.

“I can tell you, on a personal level,” Oppenheim said, “that if there is anyone who works here, who still works here, who knew about this and didn’t report it, this is going to be dealt with in the most severe way possible. And that is why were are conducting this review.”

Lauer was fired late Tuesday after he was found to have carried on “inappropriate sexual behavior” with a female colleague. The next day, a shocking report in Variety detailed multiple claims of crude behavior by the morning show star.

Among the allegations: that Lauer once gave a colleague a sex toy with an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her; that he exposed himself to another female co-worker; that he would question female producers about their sex lives; and that he would talk about which co-hosts he would like to sleep with. Variety also said Lauer had a secret button under his desk that allowed him to lock his office door remotely, affording him privacy for his sexual conquests.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 1: Noah Oppenheim participates in a panel discussion after the premiere of Fox Searchlight Pictures "Jackie" at the Newseum on December 1, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Larry French/Fox/PictureGroup)

NBC News President Noah Oppenheim told employees Friday that he had launched an investigation into who knew about fired “Today” host Matt Lauer’s bad behavior and didn’t report it. (Fox News)

The New York Times later reported that Lauer allegedly “summoned” a married co-worker to his office for sex in 2001 and had sex intensely with her over the back of his chair until she fainted and had to be taken to a nurse.

Oppenheim and his boss, powerful NBC News chairman Andy Lack, have insisted that they had no idea Lauer was engaged in sexual improprieties with staff, despite the two executives having career-long close ties to the now disgraced TV icon.

According to the Post report, Oppenheim told the “Nightly News” staff that he was only aware of reports “in the National Enquirer and other places … that Matt had relationships with other celebrities [and] those people had denied it, as had he.”

“In terms of what I personally knew, I think I knew what anyone who has walked into a supermarket for the last 20 years knew,” Oppenheim said.

Lack, who does not appear to have been at the “Nightly News” meeting, issued a corporate memo earlier in the day announcing that NBC News would be holding sexual harassment training. His statement took no personal responsibility. Lack has been otherwise silent since he announced Wednesday morning that Lauer had been let go.

Since then, Lack and Oppenheim have been the subjects of a barrage of media accounts claiming they were well aware of Lauer’s peccadilloes, but along with their predecessors had allowed NBC’s biggest star — who was worth hundreds of millions in revenue — to run rampant inside 30 Rock.

The Post reported that Oppenheim’s words on Friday fell flat. “There is a lot of anger among the NBC News staff,” one anonymous staffer told the paper. “Noah tried to calm the situation and failed. He came to the ‘Nightly News’ meeting Friday afternoon and had a lot of nothing to say.”

NBC insiders told Fox News that Oppenheim was very much “on the defensive” in Friday’s meeting and that Oppenheim’s investigation was being greeted with incredulity.

Andrew Lack, NBC's President and Chief Operating Officer, answers questions from reporters during NBC's Summer Press Tour July 20, 2001, in Pasadena, California. AL/JP - RP2DRINKOOAA

NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack has been otherwise silent since he announced Wednesday morning that Matt Lauer had been let go.

“Why don’t he and Andy look in the mirror and deal with themselves ‘severely’?” one insider said. “This is a desperate joke.”

Media insiders speculated to Fox News that Lack and Oppenheim may be trying to pass blame to other executives who formerly oversaw “Today”. Many of those executives no longer work at NBC, having been dismissed in the shakeups that followed Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal.

These insiders also told Fox News they believe Oppenheim’s comments to the “Nightly News” staff were actually designed to mollify Lack’s bosses at Comcast, who are under pressure to commission an independent review, one that Lack would presumably not control.

During Friday’s meeting, Oppenheim also told NBC staff that because Lauer had been fired for cause, he would not receive any severance or payout of his contract, said to be worth around $25 million per year.

NBC, Lack and Oppenheim have not responded to Fox News’ requests for comment.

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MLB approves Japan deal, allowing Ohtani bidding to start

MLB approves Japan deal, allowing Ohtani bidding to start

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball owners voted unanimously Friday to approve a new posting agreement with their Japanese counterparts, a move that allowed bidding to start for coveted pitcher and outfielder Shohei Ohtani.

Following the deal with Nippon Professional Baseball, Ohtani was put up for bid by the Pacific League’s Nippon Ham Fighters for the maximum $20 million posting fee. That opened a window for the 23-year-old to reach agreement on a contract with an MLB team until 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 22.

Under MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement, Ohtani is limited to a minor league contract subject to a team’s signing bonus pool. The maximum bonus he could get is $3,535,000.

Ohtani was in Los Angeles, a person familiar with his location said. That person spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made.