BC-AP Sports Digest
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The College Football Playoff race has been boring, with the same four teams holding the top spots for three weeks. On the latest AP Top 25 College Football Podcast, ESPN’s Heather Dinich joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss how the playoff could make a few twists and turns before selection Sunday on Dec. 2.
NEW ORLEANS — The Saints ride an NFL-high, nine-game winning streak into their divisional clash with NFC South rival Atlanta in the Superdome. The increasingly desperate Falcons trail first-place New Orleans by five games in the standings with six to go. By Brett Martel. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 8:20 p.m.
ARLINGTON, Texas — Colt McCoy returns to Texas for his first start in four years, at the site of his last win, when the Redskins visit the Cowboys. Dallas can tie Washington for the NFC East lead. By Pro Football Writer Schuyler Dixon. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 4:30 p.m.
OXFORD, Miss. — No. 22 Mississippi State travels to face Mississippi in the Egg Bowl. The Bulldogs are trying for their eighth win of the season while the Rebels are trying to snap a four-game losing streak. By David Brandt. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 7:30 p.m.
FBC--WINNING THE BIG ONE
Some of college football’s most successful coaches, including Tom Osborne, struggled in games against their rivals and were accused of not being able to “win the big one.” Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh is trying to break that barrier against Ohio State. By Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 940 words, photos.
OLY--TAIWAN-WHAT’S IN A NAME
Athletes from Taiwan compete at the Olympics under the name of a make-believe country: Chinese Taipei. They march behind an imaginary national flag and, if they win a gold medal, hear an “alternate national anthem” being played. A referendum to challenge this will be held in Taiwan on Saturday. But no matter what voters want, nothing is likely to change. By Stephen Wade. SENT: 1,060 words, photos, video.
JaVale McGee’s numbers are better this season than they’ve been in nearly a decade, and that’s largely because the Los Angeles Lakers gave him what he craved for years — a big opportunity. McGee was hand-picked by LeBron James to play a certain role for the Lakers this season, and so far it’s working out in a big way for both sides. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 1,110 words, photos.
DETROIT — Chase Daniel, who has barely played in the NFL since 2014, starts in place of injured quarterback Mitchell Trubisky when the NFC-North leading Chicago Bears play the Detroit Lions for the second time in 12 days. By Larry Lage. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game started 12:30 p.m.
FBN--INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Onside kicks have always been a bad bet, just not like this. Thanks to the NFL’s rules changes on kickoffs that were designed to reduce the risk of concussions, successful onside kicks have almost disappeared entirely from the game. By Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton. SENT: 800 words, photos.
— FBN--NFL THIS WEEK. Moving after Falcons-Saints game.
FBN--HARRIS VS BROWN
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — When they take the field Sunday, Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. will have waited 1,072 days for his rematch with Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown. By Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 8 p.m.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Wesley Woodyard is playing like the 32-year-old linebacker found a fountain of youth. He leads the Titans in tackles despite missing two games with an injured shoulder, and he sets the tone for a defense giving up the second fewest points per game this season as it prepares to visit Houston. By Pro Football Writer Teresa M. Walker. SENT: 700 words, photo.
FBC--T25-IRON BOWL-DEFENDING TUA
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Deshaun Davis can’t believe some of what he’s seeing out of this Tua Tagovailoa-led Alabama offense. The Auburn linebacker and defensive leader’s film sessions, which started shortly after last Saturday night’s game, illustrate both the challenge of facing Tagovailoa and the top-ranked Crimson Tide’s stylistic transformation. By John Zenor. SENT: 700 words, photos.
FBC--T25-GEORGIA TECH-GEORGIA OFFENSE
ATLANTA — Defense may be in short supply when No. 5 Georgia, coming off its second most total yards in school history, plays Georgia Tech, which has its triple-option offense on a roll. Neither coach seems to think it’ll be possible to slow down the other team in Saturday’s state rivalry game. By Charles Odum. SENT: 580 words, photo.
FBC--BIG TEN-RIVALRY GAMES
Barry Alvarez was pacing the sideline as coach the last time that Wisconsin lost Paul Bunyan’s Axe to Minnesota. It was 2003, but the empty feeling that comes with losing the rivalry game remains fresh. Losing stings. It’s all the education that younger fans and players need to understand why rivalry games remain important in the Big Ten. By Genaro C. Armas. SENT: 760 words, photos.
— FBC--ACC THIS WEEK — Syracuse-BC matchup headlines this week around the ACC. SENT: 410 words, photos.
— FBC--BIG TEN THIS WEEK — Michigan poised to break through vs OSU, buoy playoff hopes. By Eric Olson. SENT: 580 words, photos.
— FBC--SEC THIS WEEK — Auburn huge underdog vs. No. 1 Alabama in Iron Bowl. SENT: 600 words, photos.
— FBC--PAC-12 THIS WEEK. UPCOMING: 400 words by 3 p.m.
Previews for Friday’s ranked games: Oklahoma-West Virginia, Washington State-Washington, UCF-South Florida, Texas-Kansas.
BKC--T25-BATTLE 4 ATLANTIS
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — Fourth-ranked Virginia and No. 25 Wisconsin each have semifinal games to headline the Battle 4 Atlantis schedule. The Badgers face Oklahoma in the first matchup, followed by the Cavaliers against Dayton. Florida will play Stanford and Butler will face Middle Tennessee in the consolation bracket. By Aaron Beard. UPCOMING: 800 words developing from four games that started 1:30 p.m. With BKC--T25-BATTLE 4 ATLANTIS-THE LATEST.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Defending national champion Villanova, No. 14 Florida State and 19th-ranked LSU highlight play on the opening day of the AdvoCare Invitational at Disney World. Memphis, Canisius, Charleston, UAB and Oklahoma State also in the eight-team field. UPCOMING: 800 words developing from four games that started 1:30 p.m. With BKC--T25-ADVOCARE INVITATIONAL-THE LATEST.
LAHAINA, Hawaii — Rui Hachimura spent his first season at Gonzaga watching from the bench, his second as a role player. Given a chance to lead, the multitalented Japanese big man has quickly become one of college basketball’s best players. By Basketball Writer John Marshall. UPCOMING: 700 words by 7 p.m.
TOKYO —Shohei Ohtani says it didn’t take him long to realize he was competing at a much higher level during his first season in Major League Baseball. Ohtani returned to Japan and held a news conference at the National Press Club, where he spoke at length on his first season with the Los Angeles Angels. SENT: 420 words, photos.
MELBOURNE, Australia — World Cup or Ryder Cup: Put Ian Poulter into a team event and he never seems to disappoint. By Dennis Passa. SENT: 480 words, photos.
— GLF--WORLD CUP NOTEBOOK — Vegas pleasantly surprised when weather forecast was wrong. By Dennis Passa. SENT: 660 words, photos.
— GLF--HONG KONG OPEN — Three in lead as 2019 European Tour begins. SENT: 170 words.
— FBN--NFL CAPSULES
— BKC--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES
— BKW--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES
Thursday Time Schedule (EST)
Chicago at Detroit, 12:30 p.m.
Washington at Dallas, 4:30 p.m.
Atlanta at New Orleans, 8:20 p.m.
College Football (Top 25)
No. 22 Mississippi State at Mississippi, 7:30 p.m.
College Basketball (Top 25)
No. 4 Virginia vs. Dayton at Imperial Arena, Paradise Island, Bahamas, 4 p.m.
No. 6 Nevada vs. Tulsa at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, 4 p.m.
No. 7 North Carolina vs. Texas at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas 7:30 p.m.
No. 11 Michigan State vs. No. 17 UCLA at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, 10 p.m.
No. 14 Florida State vs. UAB at HP Field House, Lake Buena Vista, Fla., 9:30 p.m.
No. 19 LSU vs. College of Charleston at HP Field House, Lake Buena Vista, Fla., 7 p.m.
No. 25 Wisconsin vs. Oklahoma at Imperial Arena, Paradise Island, Bahamas, 1:30 p.m.
No. 1 Notre Dame vs. Gonzaga at Vancouver (British Columbia) Convention Centre East, 3 p.m.
No. 2 UConn vs. Mississippi at UVI Sports & Fitness Center, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, 7:30 p.m.
No. 9 Oregon State vs. Western Kentucky at Vancouver (British Columbia) Convention Centre East, 11:30 p.m.
No. 11 Tennessee vs. Clemson at Gateway Christian Academy, Bimini, Bahamas, 3 p.m.
No. 13 South Carolina vs. ETSU at Vancouver (British Columbia) Convention Centre East, 9 p.m.
No. 14 Syracuse vs. Kansas State at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, Cancun, Mexico, 2:30 p.m.
No. 15 N.C. State vs. Michigan State at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, Cancun, Mexico, 6:30 p.m.
No. 16 DePaul vs. Princeton at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, Cancun, Mexico, Noon
No. 17 South Florida vs. Kentucky at UVI Sports & Fitness Center, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, 1 p.m.