BC-AP Sports Digest
The supervisor is Fred Lief, followed by Jake Seiner at 5 p.m. and Bob Lentz at 1 a.m. The New York sports desk can be reached at 800-845-8450, ext. 1630. Sports photos, ext. 1918; graphics, ext. 7636; agate, ext. 1635. For up-to-the-minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at https://newsroom.ap.org For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport(at)ap.org or 877-836-9477. All times EST.
Alabama and Clemson meet in the College Football Playoff for the fourth straight season, playing for the championship for the third time. Cole Cubelic of the SEC Network joins the AP’s Ralph Russo on the AP Top 25 College Football Podcast in breaking down the teams. https://www.podcastone.com/AP-Top-25-College-Football-Podcast
Marcellus Wiley, a former NFL defensive end and Fox Sports personality, is still on the fence about allowing his young son play football. But he tells co-hosts Jim Litke and Tim Dahlberg on the AP’s PodcastOne Sports Now he likes what the NFL is doing to try to make the game safer. Listen at podcastonesports.com, the podcastone app and apple podcasts. https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-weekly-podcast
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — No. 1 Alabama faces No. 2 Clemson for the fourth straight season in the College Football Playoff and third time for the national championship. The winner becomes the first 15-0 FBS champion, and Tide coach Nick Saban is looking for his record seventh national title. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.
— FBC--CFP-NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP-THE LATEST — Real-time developments throughout day.
— Sidebars on each team.
FBN--CHARGERS-ON TO NEW ENGLAND
COSTA MESA, Calif. — The Los Angeles Chargers won for the first time in the postseason in five years by beating the youngest quarterback to start a playoff game. Their next challenge is to go on the road and beat the most experienced postseason quarterback of them all — Tom Brady. By Joe Reedy. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 8 p.m.
— FBN--PATRIOTS — By Kyle Hightower. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 6 p.m.
MINNEAPOLIS — Another round of turmoil for the Timberwolves. This time it’s the firing of basketball boss Tom Thibodeau right before the season’s midpoint. That gives 32-year-old Ryan Saunders a 42-game audition as interim coach. Minnesota is last in its division, two games below .500. By Dave Campbell. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 5 p.m.
GLF--XANDER THE GREAT
KAPALUA, Hawaii — Eighteen months ago, Xander Schauffele had played 18 times on the PGA Tour and missed half the cuts. Now he has won four times in 18 months and is ranked No. 6. The 25-year-old Californian has taken his place among golf’s emerging generation of stars. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. SENT: 800 words, photos.
BKW--WOMEN’S BKB POLL
Notre Dame is back to where it started the season — No. 1. The Fighting Irish edge Louisville for the top spot in the AP women’s basketball poll while UConn falls to an unaccustomed No. 3 ranking after its loss to Baylor. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. SENT: 400 words, photos.
BKC--COLLEGE BKB POLL
Duke, Michigan, Tennessee and Virginia remain the top four teams in the AP men’s college basketball poll. The rest of the top 10 became a jumble after three ranked teams lost last week. Iowa State joined the poll at No. 20. By Basketball Writer John Marshall. SENT: 650 words, photos.
FBC--CFP-NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP-PAUL NEWBERRY
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Here we go again. Alabama and Clemson meet for the third time in four years with the national championship on the line. By Sports Columnist Paul Newberry. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. To be sent after game.
FBC--CFP-STRANGE HOST-PAUL NEWBERRY
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The host city hits the snooze button for one of the country’s biggest sports events. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Simply put, college football is no big deal in Silicon Valley. By Sports Columnist Paul Newberry. SENT: 950 words, photos.
CHICAGO — Maybe it was the absence of all those high-powered offenses on byes. Or the jitters for some younger teams, particularly their quarterbacks: Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky, Lamar Jackson. Or maybe defense actually has a place in the NFL, especially in the playoffs. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. SENT: 700 words, photos.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — A sixth national title in 10 seasons would put Alabama in the conversation for best college dynasty of all-time along with UCLA basketball, UConn women’s basketball, Iowa wrestling and North Carolina women’s soccer. By Josh Dubow. SENT: 850 words, photos.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The group that runs the College Football Playoff — made up of FBS conference commissioners — meets after a month of much chatter about possible changes to the five-year postseason system. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 3 p.m.
— AP’s final college rankings to be sent about 3 a.m.
FBC--HALL OF FAME
Texas quarterback Vince Young and Notre Dame speedster Raghib Ismail have been selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, along with 11 other players and two coaches. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 300 words, photos.
— FBC--HALL OF FAME-BLIMP — Goodyear Blimp soars into College Football Hall of Fame. By Tom Withers. SENT: 350 words, photos.
METAIRIE, La. — New Orleans now gets the Eagles in the divisional round, setting up a rematch from earlier this season and marking the return to the Supoerdome of popular former Saints Malcolm Jenkins and Darren Sproles. By Brett Martel. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 6 p.m.
FBN--COWBOYS-BACK TO CALI
FRISCO, Texas — Jerry Jones likens the recovery of his Cowboys from a 3-5 start to their first playoff win in four years to a boom-or-bust wagon train bound for California. Dallas heads to Los Angeles to play the Rams on Saturday not far from the Cowboys’ training camp. By Pro Football Writer Schuyler Dixon. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 8 p.m.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs didn’t draft Patrick Mahomes merely to make the postseason. That was the case with Trent Green, Alex Smith and others. No, Kansas City traded up to draft Mahomes to win in the postseason. His first chance comes Saturday against Indianapolis. By Dave Skretta. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 6 p.m.
— Wrapups on Bears, Ravens, Seahawks.
EAST LANSING, Mich. — No. 6 Michigan State has won eight straight, surging to the top of the Big Ten standings with rival Michigan. By Larry Lage. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 7 p.m.
BKC--T25-NC STATE-DEEP ROTATION
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina State is thriving with a deep rotation, sometimes using 10 players. Coach Kevin Keatts is pushing the right buttons, with the Wolfpack 13-1 and ranked No. 15. By Basketball Writer Aaron Beard. UPCOMING: 550 words, photos by 6 p.m.
— BKC--IOWA ST-SHAYOK — Virginia transfer Marial Shayok a potent scorer for Cyclones. By Luke Meredith. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 7 p.m.
HOUSTON — The Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets look to extend their winning streak to six games. They face a Houston Rockets team trying to bounce back after a loss to Portland that ended a six-game streak. By Kristie Rieken. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.
BKN--AROUND THE NBA
There’s an easy way for the NBA to avoid gaffes like the Kevin Durant out-of-bounds debacle: Give the replay center the ability to fix those mistakes. Also: the Wizards keep fighting, and Stephen Curry and Gregg Popovich keep climbing the charts. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 1,150 words, photos.
NEW YORK — Troy Tulowitzki would be happy to see the Yankees sign Manny Machado for their infield. New York sees Tulowitzki as its shortstop until Didi Gregorius returns from Tommy John surgery this summer. By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 5 p.m.
CHULA VISTA, Calif. — U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter gathers his MLS-based talent for his first training camp. The Americans are hoping to build a sturdy foundation for the three-year process of World Cup qualification. By Greg Beacham. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 8 p.m.
— SOC--ENGLISH ROUNDUP — Liverpool plays at Wolverhampton in Premier League matchup to finish third round of FA Cup. UPCOMING: 400 words, photos by 4 p.m.
— SOC--ASIAN CUP — China, under ex-Italy coach Marcello Lippi, rallies past Kyrgyzstan 2-1 at Asian Cup in United Arab Emirates. SENT: 400 words, photos.
Lindsey Vonn plans to return this weekend for speed races in Austria, resuming her quest for the career record for World Cup victories. These will be her first races of the season after she hurt her knee and missed six events. She needs five more victories to break Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86 wins. By Eric Willemsen. SENT: 500 words, photos.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Daniel Suarez is getting a reset on his career, a second chance to prove he can win at NASCAR’s top level. Pushed out of a ride with Joe Gibbs Racing, one of the top teams, Suarez now finds a soft landing at Stewart-Haas Racing. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 700 words, photos.
— OHIO STATE-TEAM DOCTOR-WHISTLEBLOWER — Whistleblower alleging sex abuse at Ohio State is arrested, accused of harassing administrator. SENT: 150 words, photos.
— ATH--NETHERLANDS-TRAINER ABUSE — Dutch track coach accused of sexual abuse banned for life. SENT: 160 words.
— Australian Open tuneups in Australia (Sydney, Hobart) and New Zealand.
— OLY-RUSSIAN DOPING — WADA to return to Moscow lab in search of elusive data. SENT: 300 words.
— CYC--USA CYCLING-CEO — USA Cycling hires New Balance boss as CEO. By Dave Skretta. SENT: 550 words.
— BKN--NBA CAPSULES
— HKN--NHL CAPSULES
Monday Time Schedule (EST)
College Football Championship
Clemson vs. Alabama, at Santa Clara, Calif., 8 p.m.
San Antonio at Detroit, 7 p.m.
Brooklyn at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Denver at Houston, 8 p.m.
Memphis at New Orleans, 8 p.m.
Utah at Milwaukee, 8 p.m.
L.A. Lakers at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
New York at Portland, 10 p.m.
Orlando at Sacramento, 10 p.m.
Nashville at Toronto, 7 p.m.
St. Louis at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Minnesota at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Calgary at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.
Los Angeles at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.
College Basketball (Top 25)
No. 17 Iowa vs. Wisconsin, 8 p.m.