BC-AP Sports Digest,1st Ld-Writethru
Eds: Updates Baseball, College Football.
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ESPN’s Desmond Howard insists he did not know his comments about No. 4 Clemson would offend an assistant coach and upset its fans. The Heisman Trophy winner and “College GameDay” analyst speaks on the AP’s “PodcastOne Sports Now” with guest host Larry Lage. https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-weekly-podcast
The USFL helped change pro football in its three, often weird and wild, years. The league is the subject of a new book by Jeff Pearlman, who speaks with the AP’s Ralph Russo on the Top 25 College Football Podcast. https://www.podcastone.com/AP-Top-25-College-Football-Podcast
What a relief for managers. Now that they’re in the postseason they can dip into their bullpen and instead of turning to some ho-hum middle reliever they can pluck the likes of ace starters Justin Verlander, Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw. By Baseball Writer Ben Walker. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 7 p.m.
MILWAUKEE — Build an early lead, get five innings from the starter and go to the bullpen. The Milwaukee Brewers used that formula to cruise into the NLCS on an 11-game winning streak. The Dodgers and their strong rotation will try to disrupt such plans when the series begins Friday. By Genaro C. Armas. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 7 p.m.
Ryan Lochte’s attorney tells the AP the swimmer is seeking help for his poor decision making when he is around alcohol. The 12-time Olympic medalist is not in a treatment facility and is training in a bid for the 2020 Tokyo Games. By Beth Harris. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 5:30 p.m.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Philadelphia Eagles try to avoid their first three-game losing streak since 2016 and show they still have their Super Bowl pedigree when they face a New York Giants team whose season could be fast slipping away. By Tom Canavan. Game starts at 8:20 p.m.
FIFA’s new global strategy to grow the women’s game is met with praise and skepticism. The governing body wants women’s participation doubled over 12 years to 60 million worldwide by 2026. The Women’s World Cup in France next summer will be used to drive growth. By Anne M. Peterson. SENT: 850 words, photos.
Even Mikaela Shiffrin gets nervous in the start gate, to the point of nausea. Such was the case before the Olympic slalom when she finished fourth. “Just a fear of not doing well enough for everybody,” says Shriffin, who this month begins her bid for a third straight overall crown. By Pat Graham. SENT: 950 words, photos.
BKN--TIM DAHLBERG-VEGAS NBA
LAS VEGAS — LeBron on one side, still getting used to the unfamiliar colors of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Golden State Warriors on the other, trying to extend their legacy. And in the middle Las Vegas, a city that figures to play a big role in the NBA’s future. By Sports Columnist Tim Dahlberg. SENT: 700 words, photos.
HOUSTON — Astros manager says AJ Hinch says George Springer is “pretty close” to a perfect player. The outfielder, who was last year’s World Series MVP, hit three homers in the ALDS and now brings his hot bat into the ALCS against Boston starting Saturday. By Kristie Rieken. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 6 p.m.
— BBA--ALCS PREVIEW CAPSULE — By Baseball Writer Mike Fitzpatrick. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 4 p.m.
— MEXICO-HOUSTON ASTROS — Mexican president-elect turns down invitation to Astros game. SENT: 130 words.
— BBN--CARDINALS-WAINWRIGHT — Cardinals agree to one-year deal with pitcher Adam Wainwright. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 300 words, photos by 5 p.m.
BKN--WESTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEW
Golden State has won three of the last four titles and this season could have five All-Stars on the floor once DeMarcus Cousins is cleared to play. So here’s a shocking development: The Warriors are the team to beat in the West. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.
BKN--EASTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEW
Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics are the popular favorites to win the Eastern Conference, but several challengers could be waiting, notably a Raptors team bolstered by Kawhi Leonard. By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney. SENT: 900 words, photos.
— BKN--NBA PRESEASON RDP — Roundup of three NBA exhibition games. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 1 a.m.
— BKN--NBA-MONTREAL — Quebec group eyes NBA expansion team. SENT: 130 words.
FBN--NFL THIS WEEK
There can be no better measuring stick for the Chiefs and young quarterback Patrick Mahomes than what they face Sunday night. Beat the Patriots in Foxborough and all that excitement in Kansas City might be validated. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. SENT: 1,700 words, photos. For weekend use.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Isaiah Crowell had the game of a lifetime last Sunday, running for a New York Jets-record 219 yards. He was the AFC’s offensive player of the week, and Crowell is looking to build off his big performance. By Pro Football Writer Dennis Waszak Jr. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 7 p.m.
TAMPA, Fla. — Jameis Winston is working off the rust and preparing for his first start for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since serving a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. By Fred Goodall. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 6 p.m.
BEREA, Ohio — Like a group of thieves, the Browns’ defense has been stealing the ball at a record rate. Cleveland leads the league with 15 takeaways — two more than it had all of last season. By Tom Withers. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 5 p.m.
— FBN--CHIEFS IN MOTION — By Dave Skretta. SENT: 900 words, photos.
— FBN--TEXANS-DEANDRE’S CATCH — By Kristie Rieken. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 7 p.m.
— FBN--COWBOYS-UNITY TEST — By Pro Football Writer Schuyler Dixon. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 8 p.m.
— FBN--BENGALS-KEEP IT COOL — By Joe Kay. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 7 p.m.
— FBN--PANTHERS-OLSEN — By Steve Reed. SENT: 600 words, photos.
FBC--BIG TEN-PLAYING TRICKS
A run of trick plays this season is challenging the Big Ten’s reputation for stodgy football. Iowa, Michigan State and Illinois are among those getting creative. By College Football Writer Eric Olson. SENT: 700 words, photos.
FBC--BIG 12-PLAYOFF OUTSIDERS
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Oklahoma’s hopes of making the college football playoff went washing down the Red River. West Virginia now harbors the Big 12′s best hope of making the party, but the Mountaineers still face big tests. By Dave Skretta. SENT: 650 words, photos.
ATHENS, Ga. — Linebacker Natrez Patrick is ready for No. 2 Georgia to prove its defense can dominate the likes of No. 13 LSU. The Bulldogs rank second nationally in scoring, and Patrick says the unit has yet to approach its potential. By George Henry. SENT: 650 words, photos.
— Preview for Friday Game (Top 25):
— FBC--T25-SOUTH FLORIDA-TULSA — By Cliff Brunt. SENT: 700 words, photos.
— FBC--PAC-12 OFFICIATING — By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 450 words, photos.
— FBC--T25-NOTRE DAME-BOOK —SENT: 900 words, photos.
— FBC--T25-MISSISSIPPI ST-ELITE DEFENSE — By David Brandt. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 5 p.m.
— Conference previews: ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12.
NEW YORK — A government witness at a college basketball corruption trial testifies that he made a secret $40,000 payment to the inner circle of a North Carolina State recruit through an assistant coach at the school. By Tom Hays. SENT; 400 words, photos.
— FBC--WISCONSIN RECEIVER — Wisconsin receiver pleads not guilty to sexual assault. By Todd Richmond. SENT: 300 words, photos.
BKW--NOTRE DAME-DEFENDING CHAMPIONS
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame rode to the women’s NCAA title last year on Arike Ogunbowale buzzer-beating heroics. Now, Muffet McGraw’s team eyes a repeat, with Ogunbowale back along with three other starters and a strong freshman class. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 6 p.m.
BKC--BIG TEN-MEDIA DAY
ROSEMONT, Ill. — Big Ten coaches, players and Commissioner Jim Delany gather for the conference’s annual media day. Michigan reached the NCAA championship game last season, losing to Villanova. By Andrew Seligman. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 6 p.m.
— BKC--PAC-12-MEDIA DAY — By Janie McCauley. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 7 p.m.
LEXINGTON, Ky. — PJ Washington learned at the NBA draft combine that his game and body needed work. Kentucky’s top returning scorer and rebounder plans to heed that advice while leading yet another gifted group of underclassmen. By Gary B. Graves. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 5 p.m.
BRUSSELS — Five people are charged as part of a massive financial fraud investigation into Belgian soccer. The yearlong inquiry implicates key agents and a top coach and also finds indications of match-fixing during last season’s relegation battle. By Raf Casert. SENT: 400 words, photos.
LONDON — Railing against attempts to make soccer more equal, Chelsea’s chairman says big teams should not be forced to join the “great unwashed” through new regulations. European soccer’s ruling body is exploring ways to close the divide. By Global Soccer Writer Rob Harris. SENT: 550 words, photos.
— SOC--COLOMBIA-US — U.S. men play exhibition game against Colombia in Tampa, Fla. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos. Game starts 7:45 p.m.
— SOC--RONALDO-RAPE LAWSUIT — German magazine that published rape allegation against Cristiano Ronaldo says it has “hundreds of documents” to back report. SENT: 140 words, photos.
— SOC--EUROPEAN ROUNDUP — Portugal, eyeing spot in UEFA Nations League semis, plays at Poland. By Tales Azzoni. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 6 p.m.
Jose Benavidez Jr. has shown lots of bravado leading to Saturday’s fight against Terence Crawford. The WBO 147-pound champion expects Benavidez to respect him once things are settled in the ring. By Eric Olson. UPCOMING: 400 words, photos by 4 p.m.
— OLY--BKO-US ASSISTANTS — Steve Kerr, Jay Wright join Gregg Popovich’s staff for U.S. national basketball team, the AP is told. By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney. SENT: 350 words, photos.
— GLF--BRITISH MASTERS — Tommy Fleetwood part of three-way tie for lead after first round of European Tour event in England. SENT: 250 words, photos.
— GLF--CIMB CLASSIC — Bronson Burgoon leads by a stroke in PGA Tour event in Malaysia. SENT: 350 words, photos.
— GLF--KEB HANA BANK — Nasa Hataoka up by two shots after first round of LPGA tournament in South Korea. SENT: 250 words, photos.
— TEN--SHANGHAI MASTERS — Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic reach Shanghai Masters quarterfinals. SENT: 350 words, photos.
— Other tournaments in Tainjin, China; Hong Kong.
— HKN--NHL CAPSULES
Thursday’s Time Schedule (EDT)
Philadelphia at N.Y. Giants, 8:20 p.m.
Edmonton at Boston, 7 p.m.
Washington at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Colorado at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Vegas at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
San Jose at N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.
Columbus at Florida, 7 p.m.
Los Angeles at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Vancouver at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Toronto at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Winnipeg at Nashville, 8 p.m.
Chicago at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Calgary at St. Louis, 8 p.m.
Toronto at New Orleans, 8 p.m.
Utah at Sacramento, 10 p.m.
Maccabi Haifa at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m.