BC-AP Sports Digest
The supervisor is Fred Lief, followed by John Nicholson 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 877-836-9477. All times EST.
College basketball analyst Jay Bilas believes players will eventually be paid. The former Duke star tells co-hosts Jim Litke and Tim Dahlberg on AP’s PodcastOne Sports Now he’s not sure top players will forgo a year on the big college stage to play in the NBA’s developmental league. Also, AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner weighs in on which teams may have given up on the season. https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-weekly-podcast
No. 11 Central Florida has won 22 straight games and is eyeing another major bowl. So why are Knights fans mad online? On the latest AP Top 25 College Football Podcast, Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel joins the AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss UCF’s rise and how this year’s team stacks up to last year’s unbeaten squad. https://www.podcastone.com/AP-Top-25-College-Football-Podcast
NEW YORK — No. 3 Notre Dame, backed by its “Subway Alumni” following in New York, tries to stay unbeaten and on target for the College Football Playoff against No. 12 Syracuse (8-2) at Yankee Stadium. The Irish (10-0) could withstand a loss and still get into the playoff. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game started 2:30 p.m.
HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Kevin Harvick does not care if people believe his Stewart-Haas Racing team cheated its way into NASCAR’s championship race. Tuning out his critics is part of what gives Harvick an edge. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. UPCOMING. Fourth in a series of features on NASCAR’s four title contenders. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 3 p.m.
The World Anti-Doping Agency’s former lead investigator says the decision to reinstate Russia was “cowardly” and betrayed clean athletes. Jack Robertson’s op-ed piece was published during the agency’s meetings this week in Azerbaijan. By National Writer Eddie Pells. SENT: 500 words, photos.
HOMESTEAD, Fla. — The championship team is closing after Sunday’s race, and the top driver this season has been branded a cheat. Fans hope the four cars racing for NASCAR’s championship are legal in the conclusion to a messy season. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 1,300 words, photos.
HKN--TIM DAHLBERG-CONCUSSION SETTLEMENT
At the Stanley Cup Finals, Commissioner Gary Bettman couldn’t talk enough about the feel-good story of the Golden Knights and the NHL’s role in bringing major sports to Las Vegas. When it came to concussions and CTE, Bettman was less chatty. The league fought a lawsuit it has now settled. By Sports Columnist Tim Dahlberg. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 4 p.m.
FBN--ON FOOTBALL-WITHER YOUR QB
When things sour, NFL fans often point to two people: the guy calling plays on the sideline, and the man behind center trying to execute them. The futures of some coaches could be tied to how their quarterbacks have struggled — or outright flopped. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. SENT: 1,000 words, photos. First sent Nov. 16 for weekend use.
ORLANDO, Fla. — No. 11 UCF (9-0) looks to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 23 games and clinch the American Athletic Conference East as well as a spot in the league’s title game. No. 19 Cincinnati (9-1), led by running back Michael Warren II, is off to its best start since 2009. By Fred Goodall. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.
AUSTIN, Texas — Brock Purdy and No. 18 Iowa State face No. 13 Texas and Sam Ehlinger in a key Big 12 game. Both teams are fighting for second place and a chance to slip into the conference championship game. Texas is eyeing its eighth win, a mark it hasn’t reached since 2013. By Jim Vertuno. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.
BOSTON — Harvard and Yale meet at Fenway Park for the 135th edition of The Game. It’s the first time the Ivy League rivals have met off campus since 1894. It’s also the 50th anniversary of the 29-29 tie, one of the great games in college football history. By Jimmy Golen. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game started noon.
FBC--T25-AP TOP 25 TAKEAWAYS
The Big 12 has the most exciting conference race left in major college football. It is in the spotlight with No. 7 West Virginia going to Oklahoma State and No. 18 Iowa State at No. 13 Texas. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 10 p.m.
— Other Top 10 Games:
— No. 1 Alabama-Citadel (noon); No. 2 Clemson-Duke (7 p.m.); No. 4 Michigan-Indiana (4 p.m.); No. 5 Georgia-UMass (4 p.m.); No. 6 Oklahoma-Kansas (730 p.m.); No. 7 West Virginia-Oklahoma State (3:30 p.m.); No. 8 Ohio State-Maryland (noon); No. 9 Washington State-Arizona (10:30 p.m.); No. 10 LSU-Rice (7:30 p.m.).
— FBC--COLLEGE FOOTBALL TODAY— Highlights, top performances, stats. By John Marshall. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 10 p.m.
— FBC--USC-UCLA — UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 3:30 p.m.
— FBC--KANSAS-MILES — Kansas, Les Miles working on deal to coach Jayhawks, the AP is told. By Dave Skretta. SENT: 180 words. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 3 p.m.
FBN--NFL THIS WEEK
What might be the NFL’s Game of the Year has already made big headlines. Chiefs vs. Rams was moved from Mexico City because of a poor field and is back in Los Angeles in prime time. This could be a wild, high-scoring affair. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. SENT: 1,600 words, photos. First sent Nov. 15 for weekend use.
HOMESTEAD, Fla. — NASCAR’s driver carousel will be taking another spin. Former Cup champions Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth as well as Daniel Suarez, AJ Allmendinger, Regan Smith and Jamie McMurray are among those certain to start next season with new teams or new roles. By Dan Gelston. SENT: 650 words, photos.
HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Christopher Bell tries to win his second NASCAR national championship in the Xfinity Series finale. Bell has seven victories this season and won the Truck Series title last year. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Race starts 3:30 p.m.
— CAR--NASCAR-HOMESTEAD-FINAL PRACTICE — By Dan Gelston. SENT: 200 words, photos. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 5 p.m.
— CAR--NASCAR-HOMESTEAD-DRIVER CAPSULES — SENT: 450 words, photos.
DALLAS — The Golden State Warriors will be without Stephen Curry for a fifth straight game and another day removed from the Kevin Durant-Draymond Green drama when they play the Mavericks. Dallas is on a season-best three-game winning streak. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts 8:30 p.m.
CHICAGO — The No. 1 Notre Dame women look to go to 3-0 when they play No. 15 DePaul, the first major test for the defending national champions. The Fighting Irish beat Penn 75-55 to give coach Muffet McGraw her 890th victory. By Andrew Seligman. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game started 2 p.m.
LONDON — Alexander Zverev denies Roger Federer a shot at a 100th career title, winning 7-5, 7-6 (5) to reach the championship match at the ATP Finals. Novak Djokovic plays Kevin Anderson in the other semifinal. By Sam Johnston. SENT: 500 words, photos. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 5 p.m.
TOKYO — Floyd Mayweather’s match against a Japanese kickboxer is on again for New Year’s Eve. Organizers say a “misunderstanding” accounted for the 41-year-old Mayweather appearing to back out. Kicking will not be allowed in the three-round exhibition. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 400 words, photos.
— BOX--HOOKER-SAUCEDO — Local favorite Alex Saucedo challenges world junior welterweight champ Maurice Hooker for the title in Oklahoma City. By Cliff Brunt UPCOMING: 500 words. Bout starts about midnight.
NAPLES, Fla. — Lexi Thompson takes a three-shot lead into the third round of the CME Group Tour Championship. Ariya Jutanugarn enters the day in control of the Race to the CME Globe competition. UPCOMING: 500 words by 5 p.m.
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — Charles Howell III is in front at the RSM Classic, three strokes ahead of rookie Cameron Champ and Jason Gore entering the third round at Sea Island. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 6 p.m.
— GLF--WORLD TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP — Masters champions Patrick Reed, Danny Willett tied for lead after three rounds in Dubai. SENT: 500 words, photos.
— GLF--AUSTRALIAN OPEN — Abraham Ancer up by five shots after third round in Sydney, a British Open qualifier. SENT: 300 words, photos.
LEVI, Finland — Two-time overall champion Mikaela Shiffrin comfortably wins the season-opening women’s World Cup slalom. Her 33rd career slalom victory leaves her two victories shy of the World Cup record held by Austria’s Marlies Raich. SENT: 550 words.
MOSCOW — Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu captures the Rostelecom Cup, the fifth of six Grand Prix figure skating events, despite an ankle injury that left him on crutches after the competition. Fellow Olympic champion Alina Zagitova wins the women’s title. By Jim Heintz. SENT: 500 words, photos.
MILAN — Portugal, without Cristiano Ronaldo, can secure a place in the UEFA Nations League finals and move closer to hosting the four-team event in June with a draw against Italy. By Daniella Matar. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 7 p.m.
— RGU--ROMANIA-US — U.S., unbeaten in rugby this year, defeats host Romania 31-5. SENT: 250 words.
— BKN--NBA CAPSULES
— HKN--NHL CAPSULES
— FBC--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES
— BKC--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES
— BKW--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES
Saturday Time Schedule (EST)
L.A. Clippers at Brooklyn, 6 p.m.
Philadelphia at Charlotte, 7 p.m.
Atlanta at Indiana, 7 p.m.
L.A. Lakers at Orlando, 7 p.m.
Denver at New Orleans, 7 p.m.
Utah at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Toronto at Chicago, 8 p.m.
Sacramento at Houston, 8 p.m.
Golden State at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Oklahoma at Phoenix, 9 p.m.
Detroit at New Jersey, 1 p.m.
Tampa Bay at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
Buffalo at Minnesota, 6 p.m.
Montreal at Vancouver, 7 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Ottawa, 7 p.m.
Florida at N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.
Columbus at Carolina, 7 p.m.
Boston at Arizona, 8 p.m.
Los Angeles at Nashville, 8 p.m.
Edmonton at Calgary, 10 p.m.
St. Louis at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.
College Football (Top 25)
No. 1 Alabama vs. The Citadel, noon
No. 2 Clemson vs. Duke, 7 p.m.
No. 3 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 Syracuse at Yankee Stadium, 2:30 p.m.
No. 4 Michigan vs. Indiana, 4 p.m.
No. 5 Georgia vs. UMass, 4 p.m.
No. 6 Oklahoma vs. Kansas, 7:30 p.m.
No. 7 West Virginia at Oklahoma State, 3:30 p.m.
No. 8 Ohio State at Maryland, noon
No. 9 Washington State vs. Arizona, 10:30 p.m.
No. 10 LSU vs. Rice, 7:30 p.m.
No. 11 UCF vs. No. 19 Cincinnati, 8 p.m.
No. 13 Texas vs. No. 18 Iowa State, 8 p.m.
No. 14 Utah State at Colorado State, 2 p.m.
No. 15 Florida vs. Idaho, noon
No. 16 Penn State at Rutgers, noon
No. 17 Washington vs. Oregon State, 4:30 p.m.
No. 20 Kentucky vs. Middle Tennessee, noon
No. 21 Utah at Colorado, 1:30 p.m.
No. 22 Boston College at Florida State, 3:30 p.m.
No. 24 Northwestern at Minnesota, noon
No. 25 Mississippi State vs. Arkansas, noon
College Basketball (Top 25)
No. 8 Villanova vs. Furman, 5 p.m.
No. 12 Kansas State vs. Pennsylvania at U.S. Virgin Islands, 7:30 p.m.
No. 18 Michigan vs. George Washington at Uncasville, Conn., noon
No. 24 Marquette vs. Presbyterian, 1 p.m.
No. 1 Notre Dame at No. 15 DePaul, 2 p.m.
No. 2 UConn vs. Vanderbilt at Uncasville, Conn., 6 p.m.
No. 8 Oregon State vs. Saint Mary’s, 9 p.m.
No. 13 Iowa vs. N.C. Central, 3 p.m.
No. 25 Minnesota vs. San Diego, 8:30 p.m.