Rabu, 01 Desember 2010

Auburn’s Chizik, not team, in familiar spot

AUBURN, Ala. (AP)—Auburn coach Gene Chizik has been here before. That’s a good thing because his players have not.

Chizik has the second-ranked Tigers in the thick of the national championship race, just two years after his criticized hiring. He doesn’t hesitate to share with players lessons from his experience as defensive coordinator for national champion Texas in 2005 or with unbeaten, though uncrowned, Auburn the previous season.

“Quite often, too,” offensive tackle Lee Ziemba said Tuesday. “None of us have been in this situation before and he has a few times. He does a good job of making sure our focus is in the right place, making sure we’re not looking ahead to different things and we’re focusing on the task at hand.

Heisman Watch: All but locked up

Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton seems a lock to win the Heisman, but one doesn’t have to go back that far for a reminder that things aren’t always want they seem.

This time a year ago, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy seemed to have the trophy all but wrapped up. That was before he threw three interceptions and was sacked nine times against Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game.

Still, unless Newton struggles through a monumental debacle against South Carolina in the SEC championship game, he figures to win in a landslide.

Viewer’s guide: The deciding weekend

If this week is as eventful as last week, fans will be in luck. That is, fans of just about every team other than Oregon and Auburn.

The final hurdles to the national championship game are set for the Ducks and the Tigers. Oregon goes on the road to face its biggest rival, while Auburn faces a team it beat by eight points at home in September.

In addition, the final Big 12 championship game will be played, ending a conference rivalry between Oklahoma and Nebraska that began in 1912.

Expansion leads to more league title games

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz knows a Big Ten title game is coming next season, but that doesn’t mean he has to like it.

“I’ve never seen a great advantage from a coaching standpoint,” Ferentz said. “I think this is just a sign of the times and the way and direction that college football is going.”

Ferentz is right. The Big Ten and Pac-10 are the latest conferences to join the league title game movement. With the addition of Nebraska from the Big 12 in 2011, the Big Ten will split into two six-team divisions and conduct a conference championship game in Indianapolis. The Pac-10 is adding Utah from the Mountain West and Colorado from the Big 12 next season to grow to a 12-team, two-division conference with a title game. The league also will change its name, to Pac-12, to reflect its growth, but the Big Ten has no such plans.

Adelaide groundstaff pathetic, says Pietersen

SYDNEY, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Batsman Kevin Pietersen labelled groundstaff at Australia's Adelaide Oval "pathetic" after England's practice session was forced indoors due to rain just two days before the start of the second Ashes test.

The former captain was unhappy that the nets were uncovered for a period during afternoon showers on Wednesday and vented his frustration on his Twitter account (www.twitter.com/kevinpp24).

"What should a groundsman make sure he does two days out from a test match?," he said to his 94,000 followers in his first tweet. "Cover the nets when it rains maybe?"

Patriots offensive line jelling in time for Jets

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP)—Tom Brady(notes) found himself in a strange position—on the ground after being sacked.

It took an unusual defensive alignment to do it.

On the first series of the New England Patriots’ game on Thanksgiving, Detroit Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh(notes) raced in from the middle linebacker position and pulled down the star quarterback who rarely has been tackled, hurried or knocked down in the past month.

“If we give him time,” Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins(notes) said, “there’s nothing he can’t do.”

Chargers deny report that AEG is buying a stake

SAN DIEGO (AP)—An attorney for the San Diego Chargers denied a report by a Toronto radio station that billionaire Philip Anschutz will buy 35 percent of Southern California’s only NFL team.

The report Tuesday immediately elevated speculation that the Chargers could be headed to Los Angeles. Sports and entertainment powerhouse Anschutz Entertainment Group has proposed building an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles, but it is only at the conceptual stage.

The Chargers recently announced that owner Alex Spanos is looking to sell a minority stake to help with estate planning. The 87-year-old Spanos, a billionaire developer who lives in Stockton, revealed two years ago that he suffers from dementia.

Tulowitzki gets $157.75 million, 10-year deal

NEW YORK (AP)—As the Yankees resumed contract talks with Derek Jeter(notes), another All-Star shortstop finalized a huge deal.

Troy Tulowitzki(notes) tore up his current agreement with the Colorado Rockies and agreed Tuesday to a 10-year contract worth $157.75 million—the eighth-biggest deal in baseball history.

“I’m really lucky,” Tulowitzki said. “I can’t wait to be here my entire career.”

His previous contract had three years and $25.75 million in guaranteed money remaining, meaning the new deal added $132 million and seven seasons. Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement prohibits extensions, forcing the sides to sign a new contract.

Willes: Character of B.C. players decisive factor for Buono

Wally Buono's nickname within the B.C. Lions is The Riddler and, while you wonder if anyone has the stones to call him that to his face, there were moments during Tuesday's presser when he lived up to his moniker.

A question, for example, was asked about the decision Buono faces with his kickers, Paul McCallum and Sean Whyte. He paused for a moment, then formulated an answer which started in Fort Langley, turned left at Surrey, crossed the Fraser into Burnaby, doubled back to Coquitlam and ended up at Science World.

Why America’s World Cup could runneth over in 2022

Considering what happened the last time the United States led with its chin trying to land a global sporting event, some people might be dismayed to see it sticking it out there again.

Hold on. There are still some very good reasons why a nation’s reach should exceed it’s grasp on occasion—even if, in this case, we’re talking about feet.

Americans love winners, no matter the game, and unlike the coffee klatch that laughed off Chicago’s bid and awarded the 2016 Summer Olympics to Rio a year ago, this one isn’t a done deal. The U.S. bid committee hoping to bring the 2022 World Cup to these shores actually has a chance.

the Washington Huskies that C.J.

It’s been no secret among the Washington Huskies that C.J. Wilcox has an uncanny shooting touch.

He’s been called the best shooter on the team, and displayed that Tuesday night with a career-high 20 points in the Huskies’ 102-75 victory over Long Beach State at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

Wilcox, a redshirt freshman, led all scorers and dazzled the home crowd with his long-range shooting. He finished with six of the Huskies’ 14 3-pointers on the night and was 7 of 9 from the field overall.

Clarke works hard ahead of 2nd Ashes test

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP)—Michael Clarke’s industriousness and Mitchell Johnson’s absence were revealing aspects of the Australian cricket team’s preparations Wednesday for the second Ashes cricket test against England.

Clarke, who has been struggling with both injury and form, batted longer in the nets than the rest of Australia’s batsmen combined, taking throw-downs and advice from coach Tim Nielsen and captain Ricky Ponting.

On the Matt: Early basketball surprises


Though Colorado State may be only three games into the 2010-11 basketball season, there have been quite a few surprises from the Rams thus far. This week On the Matt, I take a look at all the things the Rams have done in their two wins and lone loss that most people didn't expect.

And make sure to check GoldandGreenNews.com tonight for discussion CSU's game against Drake to tip off the MWC/MVC Challenge.

West Indies 45-1 v Sri Lanka - lunch

KANDY, Sri Lanka, Dec 1 (Reuters) - West Indies were 45
for one wicket at lunch on the first day of the third and
final test against Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

Scores: West Indies 45-1 v Sri Lanka

Troy Tulowitzki: Signs Big Extension

Update: Tulowitzki signed a seven-year, $134 million contract extension with the Rockies on Tuesday that will carry through the 2020 season, the Denver Post reports.

Recommendation: Tulowitzki is already the face of the franchise, and this deal cements his future as the centerpiece of the organization. Despite missing 33 games last season, the man known as Tulo hit .315 with 27 homers and 95 RBI.

Ryan Theriot: Traded to the Cardinals

Update: Theriot has been traded to the Cardinals for Blake Hawksworth(notes), Ken Gurnick from MLB.com reports.

Recommendation: The Cardinals have talked about wanting to improve the offense they got from their middle infield, so this should be viewed in that light. But is Theriot really that much of an improvement? He has a career .354 OBP, but the last time he was at that level or above was in 2008. Meanwhile, his range had diminished enough at shortstop for him to get displaced by Starlin Castro(notes) last summer. He’ll probably split time between second and shortstop for the Card

Miguel Tejada: Agrees to Join Giants

Update: Tejada agreed to a one-year, $6.5 million contract with the Giants on Tuesday, ESPN Deportes’ Enrique Rojas reports. The deal also includes roughly $500,000 performance incentives.

Recommendation: The Giants are counting on Tejada to help fill the void left by the departure of Juan Uribe(notes) and (likely) Edgar Renteria(notes). He had some nice moments down the stretch for the Padres last season, but finished the year hitting just .269/.308/.362 and has some obvious defensive deficiencies at this stage in his career.

Orlando Hudson: Declines Arbitration

Update: Hudson declined abritration from the Twins, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Recommendation: He’ll be a Type B free agent, which may help him find a team earlier than the last two winters when his Type A status kept some teams away. In a thin middle infield free agent market, he could find several suitors this time around.

Owen Daniels: Status for Thursday Unclear

Daniels (hamstring) did not practice Tuesday, the team’s official site reports.

Recommendation: Though coach Gary Kubiak has left Daniels’ playing status open-ended for Thursday, it seems unlikely at this point after missing two days of practice in a short week. Still, check back later to be absolutely sure.

Owen Daniels: Status for Thursday Unclear

Daniels (hamstring) did not practice Tuesday, the team’s official site reports.

Recommendation: Though coach Gary Kubiak has left Daniels’ playing status open-ended for Thursday, it seems unlikely at this point after missing two days of practice in a short week. Still, check back later to be absolutely sure.

Jahvid Best: Misses Practice

Update: Best (toe) did not practice Tuesday, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Recommendation: Best did not touch the ball in last week’s loss to the Patriots and had just three carries at Dallas the week prior. His turf toe is clearly bothering him, and even if he’s active again this week, we expect to see a heavy dose of Maurice Morris(notes), Aaron Brown or both.

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