BC-AP Sports Digest,1st Ld-Writethru
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AUBURN, Ala. — With both teams eyeing the Southeastern Conference title and a national championship, No. 1 Alabama plays No. 6 Auburn in the Iron Bowl. The winner will face No. 7 Georgia for the SEC title. The Tide has won this game seven of the last nine times. By John Zenor. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 3:30 p.m.
Chip Kelly is back, Mike Riley is out and four coaching jobs are open in the SEC, with more likely to come. College football’s coaching carousel took a hard spin in a 15-minute span when UCLA hired Kelly, the former Oregon coach, and Nebraska fired Riley. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 5 p.m.
FBC--T25-AP TOP 25 TAKEAWAYS
The winner of the Iron Bowl has entered the bowl season with a chance to win the national championship each of the last eight years. Alabama-Auburn has huge national championship implications again. So does Ohio State-Michigan, South Carolina-Clemson and a bunch of other rivalry games. By Ralph D. Russo. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 9 p.m.
NEW YORK — Shohei Ohtani gave MLB teams a homework assignment. The agent for the star Japanese pitcher/outfielder wants answers — in English and Japanese — on how his client would fit into each organization and what makes each team attractive, the AP has learned. By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 5 p.m.
The NHL is celebrating its centennial anniversary with a documentary — from the founding of the league in 1917 to Bobby Orr’s iconic Stanley Cup winning goal in 1970 to Wayne Gretzky’s magnificent career. Even Gretzky says he learned something. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 650 words, photos.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — No. 8 Ohio State is two wins from a possible playoff spot, and Michigan aims to be the spoiler. The Wolverines have lost five straight and 12 of 13 to their rivals and are trying to improve their postseason positioning. By Larry Lage. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos. Game started noon.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Clemson’s run at another national title hangs in the balance. The No. 4 Tigers face resurgent South Carolina, with Clemson spot in the playoff on the line. A loss would end the Tigers’ three-game win streak in the rivalry. By Pete Iacobelli. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 7:30 p.m.
STANFORD, Calif. — No. 9 Notre Dame can wrap up a probable berth in a New Year’s Six bowl game by beating No. 20 Stanford. The Cardinal can make the Pac-12 title game if Washington State loses the Apple Cup at Washington. By Josh Dubow. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.
— Other Top 25 Games:
— FBC--T25-WEST VIRGINIA-OKLAHOMA — By Cliff Brunt. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 3:45 p.m.
— FBC--T25-WISCONSIN-MINNESOTA — By Dave Campbell. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 3:30 p.m.
— FBC--T25-GEORGIA-GEORGIA TECH — By Charles Odum. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game started noon.
— FBC--T25-WASHINGTON STATE-WASHINGTON — By Tim Booth. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.
— FBC--COLLEGE FOOTBALL TODAY— Highlights, top performances, stats. By John Marshall. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 10 p.m.
LOS ANGELES — Chip Kelly is UCLA’s new football coach, agreeing to a five-year, $23.3 million deal. The former Oregon coach returns to the Pac-12 to replace Jim Mora, who was fired with one game left in his sixth season with the Bruins. By Greg Beacham. SENT: 750 words, photos.
LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska fires coach Mike Riley after three seasons in which he was unable to return the Cornhuskers to national prominence let alone make them a factor in the Big Ten. He was under contract through February 2021 and is due a buyout of more than $6.6 million. By College Football Writer Eric Olson. SENT: 700 words, photos.
FBC--T25-PAUL NEWBERRY-IRON BOWL
AUBURN, Ala. — Commentary on the Iron Bowl between No. 1 Alabama and No. 6 Auburn, a game that will decide who moves on to the SEC championship game and stays on track for a spot in the College Football Playoff. By Sports Columnist Paul Newberry. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 3:30 p.m.
FBN--NFL THIS WEEK
In a terrific matchup of division leaders, the Saints play Rams on Sunday at Los Angeles Coliseum. New Orleans can run and play defense to complement Drew Brees. the Rams had a dynamic offense to go with a physical defense. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. SENT: 1,850 words, photos. First sent for weekend use.
NEW YORK — Former champion Sergey Kovalev fights for the WBO light heavyweight crown against Slava Shabaranskyy at Madison Square Garden. This bout between big punchers is not expected to last 12 rounds. Kovalev lost his last two fights to the now-retired Andre Ward. By Barry Wilner. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Bout starts about 10:45 p.m.
— BOX--CHARR-USTINOV — Manuel Charr, who had two hips replaced and was shot two years ago, fights Russia’s Alexander Ustinov in Germany for WBA heavyweight title. UPCOMING: 300 words, photos by 7 p.m.
INDIANAPOLIS — The Pacers put their five-game winning streak on the line, facing a Celtics team that is coming off a Friday night victory and has won 17 of 18. Boston coach Brad Stevens, whose team has the NBA’s best record, is back in his hometown and where he coached at Butler. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.
— BKN--WIZARDS-WALL — Wizards star John Wall expected to miss two weeks with knee injury. SENT: 400 words.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Las Vegas Golden Knights, leading the Pacific Division in their inaugural NHL season, go for their fifth straight victory when they play an Arizona Coyotes team that has won four of five. By Bob Baum. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.
BKW--T25-SOUTH FLORIDA-NOTRE DAME
ESTERO, Fla. — The No. 6 Notre Dame women look to reach the final of the Gulf Coast Showcase, facing a No. 17 South Florida team playing a couple hours south of its campus. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts 7:30 p.m.
TEN--DAVIS CUP FINAL
LILLE, France — France leads Belgium 2-1 in the Davis Cup final, with the untested team of Richard Gasquet and Pierre-Hugues Herbert winning the doubles match. The best-of-five series will be settled in Sunday’s reverse singles. France is eyeing a 10th Davis Cup title. By Samuel Petrequin. SENT: 600 words, photos.
SYDNEY — Jason Day moves into position for his first Australian Open title, shooting a 2-under 69 to take the lead after three rounds. Second-round leader Lucas Herbert is one stroke behind. Jordan Spieth is eight back. By Dennis Passa. SENT: 650 words, photos.
— GLF--HONG KONG OPEN — S.S.P. Chawrasia up by one shot after three rounds of European Tour event. SENT: 250 words, photos.
BARCELONA, Spain — Lionel Messi signs a new contract that will keep him at Barcelona for four more years. He reportedly will receive $35.8 million a season plus a signing bonus of $59.6 million. The Argentine will be 34 by the time the deal expires in 2021. By Joseph Wilson. SENT: 550 words, photos.
NEW YORK — With no English referees in the World Cup for the first time since 1938, Mark Clattenburg predicts that will change in 2022. Clattenburg quit the Premier League last season to work with refs in Saudi Arabia. The initial list of World Cup referees was announced Nov. 18. By Ronald Blum. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 3 p.m.
— SOC--ENGLISH ROUNDUP — Chelsea, on 85th-minute goal, draws 1-1 with Liverpool in Premier League. SENT: 550 words, photos. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 4 p.m.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — American skaters Nathan Chen and Adam Rippon are 1-2 at Skate America going into the final day of the men’s competition. Ashley Wagner and Karen Chen of the U.S. open the women’s competition with the short program. By Jake Seiner. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Event ends 11 p.m.
— SKI--WCUP-MEN’S DOWNHILL — Season-opening men’s downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta; France’s Adrien Theaux had fastest training run. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos, by 6 p.m.
— SKI--WCUP-WOMEN’S GIANT SLALOM — Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg holds slim lead entering second run of giant slalom in Killington, Vt. SENT: 140 words. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 4 p.m.
— XXC--WORLD CUP — Norway’s Marit Bjoergen wins World Cup cross-country race in Finland. SENT: 250 words, photos.
— LUG--WORLD CUP — Italy’s Kevin Fischnaller wins in Germany for first World Cup luge victory. SENT: 250 words.
— CAR--F1-ABU DHABI GP — Valtteri Bottas wins pole for Formula One’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. By Jerome Pugmire. SENT: 750 words, photos.
— BKN--NBA CAPSULES
— HKN--NHL CAPSULES
— FBC--T25-TOP CAPSULES
— BKC--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES
— BKW--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES
Saturday’s Time Schedule (EST)
San Antonio at Charlotte, 7 p.m.
Orlando at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Portland at Washington, 7 p.m.
Toronto at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.
Boston at Indiana, 8 p.m.
New York at Houston, 8 p.m.
Oklahoma City at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
New Orleans at Golden State, 8:30 p.m.
Milwaukee at Utah, 9 p.m.
L.A. Clippers at Sacramento, 10 p.m.
Washington at Toronto, 7 p.m.
Buffalo at Montreal, 7 p.m.
N.Y. Islanders at Ottawa, 7 p.m.
New Jersey at Detroit, 7 p.m.
Chicago at Florida, 7 p.m.
Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Vegas at Arizona, 8 p.m.
Minnesota at St. Louis, 8 p.m.
Winnipeg at San Jose, 10 p.m.
Calgary at Colorado, 10 p.m.
Anaheim at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.
College Football (Top 25)
No. 1 Alabama at No. 6 Auburn, 3:30 p.m.
No. 3 Oklahoma vs. West Virginia, 3:45 p.m.
No. 4 Clemson at South Carolina, 7:30 p.m.
No. 5 Wisconsin at Minnesota, 3:30 p.m.
No. 7 Georgia at Georgia Tech, noon
No. 8 Ohio State at Michigan, noon
No. 9 Notre Dame at No. 20 Stanford, 8 p.m.
No. 12 Penn State at Maryland, 3:30 p.m.
No. 14 Washington State at No. 15 Washington, 8 p.m.
No. 17 Memphis vs. East Carolina, noon
No. 18 Oklahoma State vs. Kansas, noon
No. 19 LSU vs. Texas A&M, 7:30 p.m.
No. 21 Michigan State at Rutgers, 4 p.m.
No. 23 Northwestern at Illinois, 4 p.m.
No. 25 Boise State at Fresno State, 3:30 p.m.
College Basketball (Top 25)
No. 11 Miami vs. North Florida, 4 p.m.
No. 14 Minnesota vs. No. 25 Alabama at New York (Brooklyn), 5 p.m.
No. 1 UConn vs. Michigan State at Eugene, Ore., 3 p.m.
No. 2 Texas vs. Washington at Las Vegas, 4:15 p.m.
No. 3 South Carolina vs. St. John’s at Estero, Fla., 5 p.m.
No. 6 Notre Dame vs. No. 17 South Florida at Estero, Fla., 7:30 p.m.
No. 7 Mississippi State vs. Green Bay at Cancun, Mexico, 11 a.m.
No. 8 Baylor vs. Georgia Tech at Bimini, Bahamas, 7:45 p.m.
No. 9 Ohio State vs. No. 14 Stanford at Las Vegas, 8 p.m.
No. 10 Oregon vs. Oklahoma, 5:30 p.m.
No. 11 West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech at Melbourne, Fla., 6 p.m.
No. 12 Tennessee vs. South Dakota at Cancun, Mexico, 4 p.m.
No. 16 Duke vs. No. 18 Oregon State, 3 p.m.
No. 21 California vs. No. 23 Missouri, 5 p.m.
No. 24 Arizona State vs. Columbia at Cancun, Mexico, 1:30 p.m.
No. 25 Michigan at Ohio, 2 p.m.