The supervisor is Fred Lief, followed by John Nicholson at 5 p.m. and Doug Feinberg at 1 a.m. The New York sports desk can be reached at 800-845-8450, ext. 1630. Sports Photos, ext. 1918; graphics, ext. 7636; agate, ext. 1635. AP stories and accompanying photos also can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com For reruns, call the Service Desk (800 838-4616) or your local AP bureau. All times EST.
FBC--T25--FIVE THINGS FOR CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND
The College Football Playoff is the only thing that really matters this weekend. Championship weekend is all about putting the playoff puzzle together. What if this team loses? What if this team wins? Two Big Ten teams? Three? Who is in? By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 550 words, photos.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — No. 4 Washington, with quarterback Jake Browning in the Heisman Trophy conversation, can help solidify its place in the College Football Playoff by beating No. 9 Colorado in the Pac-12 title game. By Josh Dubow. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 9 p.m.
NASSAU, Bahamas — Tiger Woods starts the second round of the Hero World Challenge nine shots behind leader J.B. Holmes. Woods is playing alone because Justin Rose — the only one behind him in the 18-player field — withdrew with a back injury. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 4 p.m.
The problems that plague Andrew Luck are the same that hinder Carson Palmer and pretty much any other quarterback or team that was expected to light it up this year but hasn't. Patchwork offensive lines can carve into a team's efficiency, confidence and, ultimately, its win total. By National Writer Eddie Pells. SENT: 800 words, photos.
VIENNA — Formula One champion Nico Rosberg retires at age 31, a startling decision that comes five days after winning his first world championship. The German captured the title by finishing second at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. "Now I've made it," he says. "I have climbed my mountain." By Ciaran Fahey. SENT: 450 words, photos.
ATLANTA — Talk about a mismatch. Alabama's defense is the best in the nation. Florida's offense looks like one of the worst. They'll face off Saturday in the SEC championships game, where the top-ranked Crimson Tide is heavily favored. By Paul Newberry. SENT: 850 words, photos.
INDIANAPOLIS — For most of this season, the Big Ten contended it was the nation's best conference. Now, No. 6 Wisconsin and No. 8 Penn State get a chance to prove it with a prime-time matchup — with the league championship and a possible second playoff berth on the line. By Michael Marot. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 7 p.m.
— FBC--T25-BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP-INTERCEPTIONS — By Genaro C. Armas. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 4 p.m.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Deshaun Watson and No. 3 Clemson's nearly yearlong quest to get back to the College Football Playoff comes down to one game, the Tigers' ACC title matchup against No. 19 Virginia Tech. By Fred Goodall. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 6 p.m.
— Friday Game:
— FBC--T25-MAC CHAMPIONSHIP — No. 13 Western Michigan vs. Ohio in Detroit. By Noah Trister. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 7 p.m.
— FBC--T25--OKLAHOMA ST-OKLAHOMA — By Cliff Brunt. SENT: 700 words, photos.
— FBC--T25--AAC CHAMPIONSHIP — UPCOMING: 650 words, photos.
— FBC--T25--BAYLOR-WEST VIRGINIA — By John Raby. SENT: 600 words, photos.
ATLANTA — There's no stopping Nick Saban. He's on the verge of tying Bear Bryant with six national titles, yet still approaches every game with the passion of a rookie coach. As long as Saban reigns in Tuscaloosa, college football is his world and everyone else is fighting for crumbs. By Sports Columnist Paul Newberry. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 6 p.m.
FBN--ON FOOTBALL-FUTILE 49ERS
SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco 49ers have fallen to a new level of futility — a league laughingstock. This is about as bad as it's been for them, especially with all that winning just a few years back. What's more, the Oakland Raiders are running through the AFC. By Janie McCauley. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — With understatement his calling card, Patriots coach Bill Belichick says he's "disappointed" to likely lose tight end Rob Gronkowski for the rest of the season. Tom Brady is expected to be more expansive when he discusses the back injury to the three-time All-Pro. By Jimmy Golen. SENT: 130 words, photos. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 6 p.m.
ARLINGTON, Texas — A less than artful victory over the Vikings out of the way, Dallas takes an 11-game winning streak into an extended break. That gives rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott some rest before the Cowboys play the New York Giants in a key NFC game. By Schuyler Dixon. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 4 p.m.
FBN--OBJ VS AB
PITTSBURGH — Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. are among the NFL leaders in receptions, touchdowns and flamboyant behavior. No doubt, each would tout his dance moves. The two wide receivers and good friends meet Sunday when Beckham and the Giants play at Pittsburgh. By Will Graves. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 6 p.m.
— FBN--FADING VIKINGS — By Pro Football Writer Dave Campbell. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 4 p.m.
CHICAGO — LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers visit Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls. James and Wade played together for four seasons in Miami, leading the Heat to two titles and four straight Finals appearances. By Andrew Seligman. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.
BKN--76ERS-50 YEAR CHAMPS
PHILADELPHIA — The 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers — led by Wilt Chamberlain, Chet Walker, Hal Greer and Billy Cunningham — were once hailed as the greatest NBA team of all time. But as the years moved on, their place in NBA history has receded. The team will be honored at Saturday night's game. By Dan Gelston. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 6 p.m.
LEXINGTON, Ky. — For a team that annually turns over a roster of gifted individuals, No. 1 Kentucky sure works together, with freshman De'Aaron Fox running the floor. That cohesion will be tested Saturday when the Wildcats face No. 11 UCLA and Lonzo Ball. By Gary B. Graves. UPCOMING: 550 words, photos by 5 p.m.
Terry Porter thinks back to when Division III Wisconsin-Stevens Point was one of the few schools interested in him. He arrived on campus unsure of his decision. But he knew he loved basketball. Now, at the University of Portland, Porter is coaching players who are in many ways like he was. By Anne M. Peterson. SENT: 850 words, photos by 6 p.m.
STORRS, Conn. — he No. 2 UConn women were supposed to be vulnerable this year after losing its three best players to graduation. But the Huskies have yet to lose this season and have won 81 in a row. They play five ranked teams in December, and on Thursday disposed of the first — No. 15 DePaul — by 45 points. By Pat Eaton-Robb. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 4 p.m.
LAS VEGAS — Jimmie Johnson is honored for his record-tying seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup title and Tony Stewart is seen off into retirement at the sport's season-ending awards banquet. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Show starts 8 p.m.
— CAR--NASCAR-MONSTER ENERGY — NASCAR to lose Sprint title, with Monster Energy the new main sponsor. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 8 p.m.
— CAR--NASCAR-STEWART'S EXIT — Tony Stewart reflects on 18-year career.SENT: 650 words, photos.
TRACK & FIELD
MONACO — The world's fastest man is slowing down. Usain Bolt again says he doesn't plan to run the 200 meters in his final season, realizing his world record of 19.19 seconds is now likely beyond him. He also doesn't sound optimistic about breaking his 100-meter record of 9.58, either. By John Leicester. SENT: 650 words, photos.
OLY--LA 2024 BUDGET
Los Angeles bidders for the 2024 Olympics are projecting a $5.3 billion budget, less than half the cost of the recently completed Rio Games. The bid is about a quarter of Tokyo's current ballooning budget for the 2020 Olympics. By National Writer Eddie Pells. SENT: 150 words, photos. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 5 p.m.
— OLY--TOKYO 2020-COST — IOC calls Tokyo's $20 billion budget unacceptable. By Jim Armstrong. SENT: 500 words, photos.
— OLY--IOC-NHL-OLYMPICS — IOC president says "rational arguments" favor NHL going to Pyeongchang. SENT: 150 words, photos.
LONDON — In the latest revelation in a fast-moving scandal, a former Chelsea player says he was paid more than $77,500 by the Premier League club to "keep a lid" on the sexual abuse he was subjected to by the team's former chief scout. Gary Johnson, 57, says he was assaulted every week by the late Eddie Heath. SENT: 450 words.
BRAZIL-AIR CRASH-A SURVIVOR'S FAMILY
RIO DE JANEIRO — The family of Brazilian soccer player Neto feels it's a miracle their son survived the plane crash in Colombia. But they are struggling with loss. Seventy-one passengers died, including 19 members of the son's beloved team. By Peter Prengaman. SENT: 550 words, photos.
— SOC--BARCELONA-MESSI'S DROUGHT — Lionel Messi looks to end scoring drought Saturday against Real Madrid. By Tales Azzoni. SENT: 450 words, photos.
— SOC--CAS-BLATTER — Top sports court to rule Monday on ex-FIFA President Sepp Blatter's appeal of six-year ban. By Graham Dunbar. SENT: 350 words, photos.
SKI--WCUP-MEN'S SUPER G
KIVAL D'ISERE, France — Norwegians Kjetil Jansrud and Aksel Lund Svindal finish 1-2 in a World Cup super-G, the first men's speed race of the season. Svindal was racing for the first time since seriously injuring a knee 10 months ago. By Graham Dunbar. SENT: 650 words, photos.
— LUG--WORLD CUP — German lugers win World Cup doubles in Lake Placid, New York; U.S. ends medal drought. SENT: 350 words, photos.
— SPE--SPEEDSKATING WORLD CUP — Czech Republic's Martina Sablikova wins 3,000 meters at speedskating World Cup in Kazakhstan. SENT: 130 words.
— BBO--DRUG REPORT — Independent administrator of baseball's drug program issues his annual report. By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 5 p.m.
— BBO--FREE AGENTS — Teams face 8 p.m. deadline to offer contracts to unsigned players on 40-man rosters. By Ronald Blum. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 9 p.m.
— GLF--AUSTRALIAN PGA — Adam Scott four shots behind leader Andrew Dodt after two round at Australian PGA Championship. By John Pye. SENT: 550 words, photos.
— GLF--ALFRED DUNHILL — Brandon Stone ahead by a shot halfway through Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa. SENT: 350 words, photos.
— JOE MCKNIGHT KILLED — Suspect in fatal shooting of ex-NFL player Joe McKnight released. By Rebecca Santana. SENT: 750 words, photos.
— FBN--MANZIEL-DOMESTIC CASE — Agreement with Johnny Manziel to dismiss domestic violence charge. By Schuyler Dixon. SENT: 550 words, photos.
— BKN--NBA CAPSULES.
— HKN--NHL CAPSULES.
— FBC--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES.
— GLF--GOLF CAPSULES.
Friday's Time Schedule (EST)
Orlando at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
L.A. Lakers at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
Minnesota at New York, 7:30 p.m.
Sacramento at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Cleveland at Chicago, 8 p.m.
Detroit at Atlanta, 8 p.m.
L.A. Clippers at New Orleans, 8 p.m.
Washington at San Antonio, 8:30 p.m.
Houston at Denver, 10:30 p.m.
Minnesota at Calgary, 9 p.m.
Montreal at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.
College Football (Top 25)
No. 4 Washington vs. No. 9 Colorado at Santa Clara, Calif., 9 p.m.
No. 13 Western Michigan vs. Ohio at Detroit, 7 p.m.
College Basketball (Top 25)
No. 13 Indiana vs. SIU Edwardsville, 7 p.m.
No. 24 Oregon State vs. Idaho at Honolulu, 11:30 p.m.