COLLEGE FOOTBALL-BCS CHAMPIONSHIP
Battle for the title
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Top-ranked Florida State and No. 2 Auburn will write the final chapter on the college football season when they decide the national championship tonight.
Heisman Trophy winner Jameis (JAY'-mihs) Winston leads the Seminoles who are trying to put the finishing touches on a perfect season. The redshirted freshman can set an NCAA record for passing efficiency rating with another big game. He comes in with a rating of 190.05, just shy of the record of 191.8 held by Russell Wilson. All 13 of Florida State's wins have been by 14 or more points. The high-flying Seminoles can set an NCAA record for points in a season with a 28 more tonight.
Auburn is the first team to reach the BCS championship game after having a losing season the previous season, and is on the cusp of becoming the first national champion to start the season unranked since BYU in 1984. The 12-1 Tigers feature the nation's top running attack, averaging 335 yards on the ground per game. Heisman Trophy finalist Tre Martin leads the way. He rushed for 1.621 yards and 22 touchdowns this season, including a 304-yard performance in the SEC title game against Missouri.
Florida State's defense is sixth best against the run in the country.
This will be the swan song for the BCS. A playoff system to determine the national championship will begin next season.
Texas welcomes Strong
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Charlie Strong steps into the bright glare of the college football spotlight when he's introduced as the new head coach at Texas today.
He takes over one of the high-profile and well financed programs in the country after spending four years as head coach at Louisville. Strong succeeds Mack Brown who won 158 games in 16 years at Texas, but only delivered one national championship and two Big 12 titles.
Strong spent four years as Louisville head coach, running up a 23-3 combined mark the last two years with quarterback sensation Teddy Bridgewater sparking the offense.
Paul-less Clippers start home stand
UNDATED (AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers settle into a four-game home stand starting tonight, without the NBA's assist leader. The Clippers host Orlando just a day after finding out that starting point guard Chris Paul will be lost for up to six weeks with a separated right shoulder. The loss comes at a bad time for the Clippers who are tied for the Pacific Division lead with hard-charging Golden State, which has won nine in a row.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers will go with Darren Collison in Paul's place.
Atlanta tries to get back on track on the road against Brooklyn tonight, after dropping two in a row. Before that, the Hawks had won six of eight to solidify their hold on second place in the Southeast Division behind Miami. The Nets modest two-game winning streak is just their second of the season.
Minnesota visits Philadelphia to round out the schedule.
GOLF-TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Three-way tie for lead
KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) — Defending champ Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson and Jordan Speith (SPEETH) share the lead heading into the final round of the season-opening Tournament of Champions. Their 14-under total is two shots better than Zach Johnson. PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner heads up a group three shots off the pace.
Slumping Habs in action
UNDATED (AP) — Montreal is hoping to snap out of a recent slide that has seen the Canadiens drop five of their last seven games. That's dropped them into third place in the NHL's Atlantic Division heading into tonight's home game against Florida. The good news for Montreal, is a win vaults them ahead of Tampa Bay into second place in the division. The bad news, is that the Canadiens have lost 10 of 22 games on their home ice this season.
Colorado takes a three-game winning streak into its home game against Calgary tonight. Dallas visits the Islanders and the Rangers host Columbus to round out the schedule.