BC-AP Sports Digest
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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.
Marcellus Wiley, a former NFL defensive end and Fox Sports personality, is still on the fence about allowing his young son to 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.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Alabama already is the first team to win five AP titles in less than 10 years. Winning another one against Clemson would lift the Crimson Tide even further above other college football dynasties and into the conversation about the best runs in all of college sports. Right alongside John Wooden’s UCLA basketball team, Iowa’s wrestling powerhouse and UConn women’s basketball, among others. By Josh Dubow. UPCOMING: 875 words, photos.
CHICAGO — Maybe it was the absence of all those high-powered offenses on byes. Perhaps it was the jitters for some younger teams, particularly their quarterbacks: Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky and Lamar Jackson. Or maybe defense actually has a place in the NFL, especially in the playoffs. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. UPCOMING: 735 words, photos.
CHICAGO — Philip Rivers has come up empty against Tom Brady every time. He gets another shot next weekend. Rivers directed the Los Angeles Chargers to a 23-17 playoff victory at Baltimore, setting up another high-stakes matchup with Brady and the New England Patriots. For all of Rivers’ success during his 15 years in the NFL, he is winless in seven career starts against Brady. By Jay Cohen. SENT: 675 words, photos.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Timberwolves had just posted their fourth-largest margin of victory this season, and Tom Thibodeau looked and sounded satisfied as the demanding and intense coach used his postgame news conference to praise the attitude and energy with which his team had played. Minutes later, Thibodeau was fired. By Dave Campbell. SENT: 640 words, photos.
— BKN--LAKERS-TIMBERWOLVES — By Dave Campbell. SENT: 900 words, photos.
FBC--CFP-PAUL NEWBERRY-STRANGE HOST
SAN JOSE, Calif. — On the weekend before one of the country’s biggest sporting events, the host city appeared to have hit the snooze button. This shouldn’t be a surprise. For some reason, the College Football Playoff took its national championship game to Silicon Valley. But simply put, college football is no big deal in this part of the world. By Sports Columnist Paul Newberry. UPCOMING: 980 words, photos.
CHICAGO — The Philadelphia Eagles were desperately seeking a lift with little time left to save their season. Nick Foles came through for the defending Super Bowl champions. And he did it just in time. By Andrew Seligman. UPCOMING: 675 words, photos.
— FBN--BEARS-PARKEY MISSES — By Andrew Seligman. SENT: 670 words, photos.
BALTIMORE — The Los Angeles Chargers’ prize for dismantling the toughest defense in the NFL is a road game against a team that has long been a nemesis for Philip Rivers. Los Angeles advanced to the divisional round of the postseason by beating the Baltimore Ravens 23-17. Next up, a matchup against the New England Patriots. By David Ginsburg. UPCOMING: 870 words, photos.
— FBN--RAVENS-JACKSON’S DEBUT — By Pro Football Writer Howard Fendrich. SENT: 800 words, photos.
— FBN--COLTS-ON THE RUN — By Michael Marot. SENT: 775 words, photos.
— FBN--SEAHAWKS-FALLING SHORT — By Tim Booth. SENT: 840 words, photo.
— FBN--TEXANS-WRAPUP — By Kristie Rieken. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.
— FBN--NFL TODAY — SENT: 1,180 words, photos.
— FBN--OBIT-LASSITER — SENT: 240 words.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Alabama coach Nick Saban and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney went through the familiar routine. Joint news conference. Handshake. Pose for a picture with a trophy. They have done this drill four straight seasons in the College Football Playoff. Alabama-Clemson IV, the third meeting with the national championship on the line, will be played Monday night at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 970 words, photos. With preview capsule.
FBC--CFP-NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP-RUNNING GAME
SAN JOSE, Calif. — As much attention as quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence get for Alabama and Clemson, both teams in the CFP title game have a dangerous running game, too. By Josh Dubow. SENT: 700 words, photos.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Donovan Mosley is getting ready for his final college game, still clinging to hope that this will be the one when he finally makes it to the field. Over four years as a walk-on at Alabama, Mosley has put in all the work without actually playing in a game — the most striking example of the sacrifice that some players are willing to endure for a chance to live out their dreams. By National Writer Paul Newberry. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.
FBC--CFP-NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP-TIGER TIES
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Amid the plans and preparations, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney caught himself daydreaming of the special moment he and sons Will and Drew could share come Monday night. By Pete Iacobelli. SENT: 700 words, photos.
— FBC--BUFFALO-JACKSON — Buffalo QB declares for NFL draft. By John Wawrow. SENT: 280 words.
KAPALUA, Hawaii — Xander Schauffele figured he had nothing to lose. He wound up winning the first PGA Tour event of the year with a final round that not even he could have imagined. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 775 words, photos.
TORONTO — Kyle Lowry returned from injury to help the Toronto Raptors extend a run of home dominance over the Indiana Pacers. Norman Powell scored a season-high 23 points and the Raptors beat Indiana 121-105, snapping the Pacers’ six-game winning streak. By Ian Harrison. SENT: 750 words, photos.
— BKN--GRIZZLIES-PARSONS — By Teresa M. Walker. SENT: 500 words, photo.
— BKN--AROUND THE NBA — By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 1,200 words, photos.
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Fifth-ranked Kansas will be without center Udoka Azubuike for the remainder of the season after an MRI exam revealed the 7-footer tore ligaments in his right hand during practice. By Dave Skretta. SENT: 530 words, photos.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan got Indiana’s best players in foul trouble in the opening minutes and took full advantage, building a double-digit cushion it used to stay undefeated. Charles Matthews scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half and the second-ranked Wolverines beat the 21st-ranked Hoosiers 74-63. By Larry Lage. SENT: 675 words, photos.
BKC--T25-TOP 25 REWIND
The number of unbeaten teams in college basketball is down to three. No. 6 Nevada dropped out with an 85-58 loss at New Mexico, leaving No. 2 Michigan, No. 4 Virginia and No. 19 Houston as the only teams with unblemished records. By Basketball Writer John Marshall. SENT: 800 words, photos.
HOUSTON — Following its first regular-season loss in more than four years, UConn coach Geno Auriemma didn’t know how his team was going to react. The top-ranked Huskies came out with energy en route to a convincing win. Katie Lou Samuelson had 19 points, Napheesa Collier added 18 and UConn rebounded with an 81-61 victory over Houston. SENT: 700 words, photos.
— BKW--T25-ICYMI — By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. UPCOMING: 950 words, photo.
PITTSBURGH — The Chicago Blackhawks gave Pittsburgh a head start and still grounded the surging Penguins. Again. Dylan Strome broke a tie 1:48 into the third period and the Blackhawks beat Pittsburgh 5-3 to end the Penguins’ winning streak at eight games. SENT: 790 words, photos.
Soccer star Wayne Rooney was arrested last month on a public intoxication charge and taken to jail to sober up after he triggered a door alarm at a Washington-area airport, authorities said. By Jonathan Drew. SENT: 400 words, photo.
The FA Cup delivered three big shocks on a classic day of third-round action. Premier League team Fulham was humiliated by fourth-tier Oldham 2-1, led by interim first-team coach Pete Wild, and non-league side Barnet beat Sheffield United 1-0 despite a gap of 84 places in English soccer’s pyramid. Topping it off was fourth-tier Newport County winning 2-1 against Leicester, the seventh-placed team in the Premier League. By Steve Douglas. SENT: 760 words, photos.
— SOC--SPAIN-WEEKEND WATCH — By Joseph Wilson. SENT: 615 words, photos.
— BBO--METS-INDIANS TRADE — By Tom Withers. SENT: 585 words.
— BBO--METS-ASTROS TRADE — SENT: 190 words.
— TEN--HOBART INTERNATIONAL — SENT: 360 words.
— FBN--NFL PLAYOFF CAPSULES
— BKN--NBA CAPSULES
— HKN--NHL CAPSULES
— BKC--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES
— BKW--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES
Monday’s Time Schedule (EST)
College Football Championship at Santa Clara, Calif.: Clemson vs. Alabama, 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. 19 Iowa vs. Wisconsin, 8 p.m.