Oregon passes Notre Dame, moves to No. 3 in BCS rankings
One down, one to go for Oregon.
The Ducks moved up a spot and passed Notre Dame in the BCS standings on Sunday, moving into third place behind Alabama and Kansas State.
Oregon is coming off its biggest victory of the season, winning 62-51 at Southern California on Saturday night. That result, combined with Notre Dame's overtime victory against a middling Pittsburgh team, helped nudge the Ducks by the Irish this week.
Alabama (.9957) is a rock-solid No. 1 in both the polls and the BCS computer ratings. The Tide need only to win out to reach the BCS title game for the third time in four seasons.
Kansas State (.9318) is third in the polls and in the computers, but second overall.
The Ducks (.9166) are a solid No. 2 in both polls, but still fifth in the computers.
But the Ducks have a stronger schedule than Kansas State from this point forward, making Oregon a strong bet to pass the Wildcats if it keeps winning and earn a spot in the BCS title game in Miami on Jan. 7.
The Ducks play at California on Saturday before finishing their regular season against two teams in the BCS top 15, Stanford and Oregon State. If they get to the Pac-12 title game, UCLA or USC would be the likely opponent. Both are in the BCS top 20.
Kansas State is at TCU and Baylor the next two weeks, before finishing with Texas on Dec. 1. The Longhorns are 17th in the BCS standings.
Notre Dame (.9050) is in fourth place with only one opponent with a winning record left on its schedule. The Fighting Irish are at Boston College on Saturday, then come home to face Wake Forest before a finale at USC.
Behind the Irish in the standings are four Southeastern Conference teams — Georgia, Florida, LSU and South Carolina.
Irish lucky referee missed penalty
Coach Brian Kelly concedes Notre Dame got lucky when officials didn't notice the fourth-ranked Fighting Irish used two players wearing the No. 2 when Pittsburgh missed a 33-yard field goal in the second overtime on Saturday. The Irish (9-0) won 29-26 in the third overtime, but Pitt kicker Kevin Harper should have been given a second chance because Irish cornerback Bennett Jackson and wide receiver Chris Brown were both on the field wearing the same number. Kelly said Sunday it was a coaching mistake. He said he became aware of it after the play.
■ Arkansas Coach John L. Smith suspended senior linebacker Terrell Williams following Williams' arrest for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. The 21-year-old Williams was arrested by Fayetteville police early Sunday for DWI and driving left of center.
Late surge carries Hawks past Thunder
Al Horford had 23 points and 12 rebounds, Lou Williams added 10 of his 19 points during Atlanta's decisive fourth-quarter surge and the Hawks beat host Oklahoma City 104-95 on Sunday night. The Hawks won their road opener despite playing without starting forward Josh Smith because of a sprained right ankle. Kevin Martin scored 28 points off the bench to lead the Thunder.
Knicks 100, 76ers 84: Carmelo Anthony scored 27 points, JR Smith had 20 and host New York beat Philadelphia to go 2-0 for the first time since the 1999-00 season.
Magic 115, Suns 94: J.J. Redick scored 24 points, and Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis each had 22 as host Orlando rallied to beat Phoenix. The Magic trailed by as many as 13 points early in the second half but erupted for 40 in the third quarter. Luis Scola led the Suns with 24 points'
Raptors 105, Timberwolves 86: Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan each scored 22 points, Alan Anderson had 18 and host Toronto earned its first victory of the season. Andrei Kirilenko scored 17 points for the Timberwolves.
Poulter comes from four behind to win
One month after leading an improbable European rally in the Ryder Cup, Ian Poulter won by himself for the first time this year, closing with a 7-under 65 and coming from four shots behind to win the HSBC Champions on Sunday in Shenzen, China. It was his second career World Golf Championships title. Phil Mickelson (68), Jason Dufner (64), Scott Piercy (65) and Ernie Els (67) tied for second. Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen shared the 54-hole lead, but each shot a 72 in the final round to tie for sixth.
■ Stacy Lewis rallied to win the Mizuno Classic for her LPGA Tour-leading fourth title of the year, birdieing the final three holes for an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke victory in Shima, Japan. Lewis, seven strokes behind South Korea's Lee Bo-mee entering the round, had 10 birdies and two bogeys to finish at 11-under 205.
■ Tom Lehman won the Charles Schwab Cup Championship on Sunday to become the first player to win the Champions Tour season points title two straight years. After shooting 68-63-62 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round, Lehman birdied four of the last five holes for a 5-under 65 and a six-stroke victory in Scottdale, Ariz. Jay Haas shot a 69 to finish second.
■ Guan Tianlang, an eighth-grader from China who barely weighs 125 pounds and doesn't hit the golf ball far enough to reach some par 4s, has qualified for the Masters. The 14-year-old prodigy made a 5-foot par putt on the final hole to win the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, earning the invitation. He is believed to be the youngest male to play in a major championship.
Volleyball Cats sweep Gamecocks
The Kentucky volleyball team swept visiting South Carolina 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-18) on Sunday, extending its season-long winning streak to five. Sophomore Lauren O'Conner had 12 kills and senior Ashley Frazier had 10 for the Cats (17-8, 11-4 Southeastern Conference), who reached 17 wins for the eighth consecutive season under Coach Craig Skinner. South Carolina fell to 15-12, 3-12 in the SEC.
■ The UK men's doubles team of junior Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai advanced to the finals of the United States Tennis Association's Clay Court Invitational before losing 8-6 to Duke's Michael Redlicki and Jason Tahir, closing their portion of the fall season. Jomby and Lai beat Roberto Quiroz and Yannick Hanfmann of Southern Cal 8-4 in the semifinals.
■ South Carolina scored on a Bradlee Baladez penalty kick at the end of the first half and beat the Kentucky men's soccer team 1-0 in the Cats' regular-season finale. Kentucky (9-8-1, 4-3-1 Conference USA) needed a win to secure one of the two byes in the C-USA Tournament. UK, the No. 5 seed in the six-team tournament, will face No. 4 seed Memphis on Wednesday in Hoover, Ala.
Transylvania falls in Heartland finals
Transylvania (22-14) lost in straight sets to host Mt. St. Joseph in the Heartland Conference Volleyball Tournament finals Sunday, ending the Pioneers' bid for their first NCAA Division III tournament appearance. Mt. St. Joseph (14-14) will receive the HCAC's automatic bid. Transy's Meghan Bowers, who had eight kills Sunday, and Allegra Guerrettaz (six kills) were named to the all-tournament team.
The last word
After the Los Angeles Lakers' 0-2 start, Kobe Bryant reassured restless Lakers fans there was nothing to worry about. After a 105-95 loss to the Clippers dropped the Lakers to 0-3, Bryant changed his tune:
"It's time to panic right now."