Commissioners to hammer out new playoff details
Conference commissioners will meet Monday, hoping to decide whether to have a six- or seven-game format for the new college football playoff.
Support has waned for adding a seventh marquee bowl game to the semifinal rotation. But there is still a strong possibility some automatic entry to the system will be given to the Big East and four other conferences now without a bowl of their own.
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"Whether it's seven games or six games, the commitment to access that was established at the Chicago meeting, I'm confident, is still in place," Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson said Sunday from Denver, where the commissioners regular meeting with the BCS presidential oversight committee was being held.
The idea of adding a game to the playoff rotation that starts in 2014 came up at that September meeting in Chicago and initially had strong support.
The tentative plan was to match the best team from Big East, Mountain West, Conference USA, Sun Belt and Mid-American Conference against a team from the Pac-12 or Big 12.
But the game drew tepid interest from television networks, including ESPN, because adding a game to the format would increase the overall price tag on the new post-season package.
ESPN.com reported two weeks ago the addition of a seventh game to the format was becoming unlikely. Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco responded there was still support for it among the commissioners.
Men's doubles takes title at Georgia
Behind an 8-4 victory in the shootout round, the Kentucky men's tennis doubles pair of Ryuji Hirooka and Maks Gold captured the doubles title at the Bulldog Invitational on Sunday afternoon after a weekend of competition in the Peach State.
Gold and Hirooka were crowned the champs thanks to an 8-4 victory over Rigerio Ribiero and Roger Oredig of East Tennessee State. Over the weekend, the duo went 3-0.
Arkansas staged a come-from-behind win to down Kentucky volleyball 3-2 (22-25, 16-25, 25-19, 25-20, 15-10) on Sunday afternoon in Barnhill Arena on the campus of the University of Arkansas. UK earned a 2-0 lead in the match and then saw the Razorbacks take the final three frames for the win to sweep the season series.
Junior Whitney Billings led the Wildcats with another double-double effort with 18 kills and 15 digs. Senior Ashley Frazier added 13. Senior Christine Hartmann dished out 53 assists and added eight digs while senior Stephanie Klefot logged 17 digs.
19-year-old Manassero wins Singapore
After already playing 33 holes at the Singapore Open on Sunday, the last thing Matteo Manassero probably wanted was to go back on the course for a playoff hole. Or two playoff holes. Or three.
The 19-year-old Manassero persevered and holed a 12-foot eagle putt to beat Louis Oosthuizen on the third playoff hole to capture his third European Tour title and by far his biggest paycheck: $1 million.
Cristie Kerr won the Lorena Ochoa Invitational on Sunday for her first LPGA Tour victory in more than two years, and Stacy Lewis tied for fourth to wrap up the player of the year award. Kerr parred the final three holes at Guadalajara Country Club to hold off Angela Stanford and third-round leader Inbee Park by a stroke. Kerr finished at 16-under 272 for her 15th LPGA Tour title and first since the LPGA Championship in June 2010.
Labor talks resume after 1-day break
NHL owners and players were back at the bargaining table after a one-day break. The sides met for about 90 minutes Sunday at the NHL office in Manhattan in an effort to end the lockout that is in its 57th day. There are no plans yet to meet again.
Talks took place for four straight days earlier this week before heated discussions ended the run Friday night. The decision to formally meet again came Sunday morning.
A few hours into Friday's session, negotiations soured over the core economic differences that separate the sides and threaten the season completely. The lockout already has caused the NHL to call off 327 regular-season games, including the New Year's Day Winter Classic. A lockout wiped out the entire 2004-05 season.
Federer, Djokovic face off in ATP finals
As usual, Roger Federer is looking to add to one of his many records. And as many expected, Novak Djokovic will be trying to stop him. The top two players in the world advanced to the championship match at the ATP finals on Sunday, each looking beatable early before turning things around.
Federer, a six-time champion at the season-ending event, advanced by beating U.S. Open champion Andy Murray 7-6 (5), 6-2. The top-ranked Djokovic defeated Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
In the early match, the top-ranked Djokovic started playing his best tennis as soon as it looked like he was headed for his offseason vacation. Djokovic was broken late in the first set and again early in the second, but he then found his stroke and quickly rebounded.
Babe Ruth bat auctioned
An auction at the Louisville Slugger Museum pulled in $253,000 for a 1924 Babe Ruth autographed professional model baseball bat.
According to a news release from Hunt Auctions, two collections of sports memorabilia also did well at the weekend auction.
A group of autographed baseballs assembled by the general manager of the St. Louis Jefferson Hotel in the early 1900s sold for more than $102,000. The collection included an R.J. "Bobby" Wallace single signed baseball and an incredibly rare 1915 Miller Huggins single signed baseball.
The second large dollar collection was a group of 20th century baseball programs which sold for over $89,000. Hunt Auctions President David Hunt said the collections prove that there still are some great "attic finds" remaining in the hobby.
High school football
N.C. quarterback sets national record
Will Grier is still trying to get his head around throwing for a national record 837 yards passing and 10 touchdowns in his team's 104-80 win in a North Carolina high school state playoff game Friday night.
The Davidson Day High School junior quarterback, being recruited by several top schools around the country, surpassed the mark of 764 yards passing set by Pacific Palisades (Calif.) QB David Koral set in 2000. Davidson Day High advanced to the N.C. Independent Schools' Division II championship game with the win over Harrells Christian.
In the wild game that lasted nearly four hours, the teams combined for 184 points surpassing the existing state mark of 142 set in 1930. The game ended close to midnight and Grier had no idea he broke any records until the following day.
"My Twitter account just blew up," Grier said.
The last word
No. 11 Clemson held Maryland to 180 yards in a 45-10 win, never giving the Terps the chance to get synched. Defensive end Corey Crawford didn't feel sorry, though.
"To be honest, that's their problem. No pity."