Michigan, Ohio State accept bowl bids
Two of the New Year's Day bowl participants were determined Monday when No. 16 Michigan and No. 25 Ohio State accepted bids to the Citrus and Outback Bowls for the second straight year.
Michigan (8-3) is headed back to the Citrus Bowl after last week's 26-20 loss to Ohio State cost the Wolverines the Big Ten Conference championship and a berth in the Bowl Championship Series. Michigan finished second in the Big Ten standings and dropped five spots in the latest coaches' poll.
Ohio State (7-4) hopes to make amends for last season's disappointing 24-7 loss to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl that led to the firing of coach John Cooper.
"We're excited about the opportunity to play in such a prestigious bowl," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "Our players have worked this year to overcome significant adversity and put themselves in position for this wonderful opportunity."
Starting quarterback Steve Bellisari was suspended for the Illinois game on Nov. 17 after being arrested on a drunken driving change a day earlier.
Ohio State's Big Ten hopes ended with a 34-22 loss to Illinois, the eventual conference champion, but the Buckeyes improved their bowl status with last week's win over Michigan. The victory also enabled them to move back into the top 25.
Michigan will be making its sixth straight appearance in a New Year's Day bowl and its third trip to the Citrus Bowl in four years. The Wolverines beat Arkansas, 45-31, in 1999 before posting a 31-28 victory over Auburn last season. Michigan has won four straight bowl games and has an all-time bowl mark of 18-14. Ohio State also is making is 33th bowl appearance, but has a 14-18 record.
Jaguars WR denies using cocaine
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Jimmy Smith of the Jacksonville Jaguars denied ever taking cocaine after the Florida state attorney's office disclosed Monday the four-time Pro Bowl receiver tested positive for the illegal substance.
Smith was stopped by Florida police on November 11 on suspicion of drunken driving, but passed two breath tests and did not have a blood-alcohol level above the state's .08 limit. However, police took a urine sample, which was sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for analysis.
At a Monday morning news conference, the state attorney's office said Smith was under the legal limit for intoxication, but claimed Smith had tested positive for cocaine.
"I'm shocked and disappointed that an illegal substance would be in my body," Smith said of the state's attorney's office findings of a urinalysis report. "I haven't done it, didn't do it and wouldn't do it."
Smith will not be prosecuted on drug charges, but could face disciplinary action from the NFL for allegedly violating the league's substance abuse policy.
"Jimmy Smith came to me on Monday, November 12, following the arrest and spoke to me about it," Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin said Monday. "Tuesday night (November 13) he told me the preliminary tests had come in and he had tested positive for cocaine," Coughlin said. "He looked me right in the eye and said, 'I do not use cocaine or any other drugs.' He and his representatives are investigating further to see why his test results are positive."
In his seventh year with the Jaguars, Smith has been to the Pro Bowl each of the last four seasons and is one of the team's most respected players. Smith underwent three abdominal operations in the offseason and spent about a month in the hospital, making his status questionable for 2001. But he has enjoyed another Pro Bowl-type season, leading the Jaguars with 70 receptions for 850 yards and five touchdowns.
Ravens DT to have knee surgery
OWINGS MILLS, Md., Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Sam Adams, one of the premier run stoppers in the NFL, will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Tuesday.
Coach Brian Billick made the announcement at his Monday news conference. He said the club hopes to have Adams back for a December 16 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Adams played in the Ravens' 24-21 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, collecting two tackles and a sack.
It is another blow for the record-setting defense of the Ravens, who are already without end Michael McCrary, the team leader in sacks, for the rest of the season following knee surgery. McCrary was hurt in a November 18 game against Cleveland.
The 6-3, 330-pound Adams and the 6-3, 340-pound Tony Siragusa anchor the middle of the Baltimore line. Led by that duo, the Super Bowl champions have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 48 straight games, including playoffs.
Billick also disclosed that running back Jason Brookins suffered a broken foot in Sunday's game and could be sidelined four-to-six weeks. Trying to help fill the void left by Jamal Lewis, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during training camp, Brookins has rushed for 536 yards and five touchdowns in 11 games. He carried 32 times for 82 yards with two touchdowns and lost a fumble in Sunday's win at Jacksonville.
With Brookins sidelined, the Ravens will likely turn to Moe Williams as the starter for this Sunday's game against Indianapolis. Williams had nine carries for 31 yards Sunday and has 52 yards on 19 attempts this season.
Orlandis Gary out with broken leg
ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Nov. 26 (UPI) -- The Denver Broncos placed running back Olandis Gary on injured reserve Monday and signed Karon Coleman to the active roster.
Gary suffered a broken left leg in Denver's 26-24 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He finished the season with 228 yards and one touchdown on 57 carries and caught four passes for 27 yards.
The Broncos began the season with a logjam in the backfield with Terrell Davis, Mike Anderson and Gary, but Davis has missed five games with knee injuries and recently underwent arthroscopic surgery and now Gary has had a season cut short by injury for the second straight year.
Gary broke a bone in his lower left leg on a nine-yard run in the first quarter. He suffered a torn ACL in his right knee in the 2000 season opener after rushing for 1,159 yards as a rookie in 1999.
Davis may be ready to return for Denver's next game December 2 at Miami after missing the last two contests following surgery on his left knee on November 12.
Anderson, who rushed for 1,487 yards and 15 touchdowns as a rookie last year, is the team's leading rusher with 614 yards. Davis has rushed for 254 yards in six games.
Miami, Florida atop latest BCS poll
MORRISTOWN, N.J. (UPI) -- Miami and Florida are atop the latest Bowl Championship Series ratings announced Monday.
As expected, Miami (10-0), which routed Washington, 65-7, replaced Nebraska atop the poll with 2.92 points. Nebraska's loss to Colorado and Oklahoma's setback to Oklahoma State over Thanksgiving weekend helped move Florida (9-1) up two spots in the poll with 6.95 points.
The top two teams in the final BCS poll, released Dec. 9, will play for the national title in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 3.
Florida can assure itself of a Rose Bowl date if it defeats Tennessee on Saturday and wins the Southeastern Conference title game on Dec. 8. Miami will advance to the national title game if it beats Virginia Tech on Saturday.
Oregon and Tennessee, both 9-1, are fifth and sixth with 10.87 and 11.87 points, respectively. But the Volunteers will have the chance to vault ahead if it defeats Florida this week. Tennessee could play in the Rose Bowl if it wins this week and in the SEC title game.
Oregon closes its season this week against unranked Oregon State, which provides little in terms of the strength of schedule component, and would need several teams to lose in order to make it to the Rose Bowl.
Texas (10-1), another team to benefit from last weekend's upsets, moved up to third in the BCS with 8.77 points. The Longhorns have a chance of playing in the Rose Bowl if it defeats Colorado (9-2) in the Big 12 Conference title game on Saturday and if other teams lose.
Nebraska (11-1) fell to fourth in the poll with 10.48 points and has concluded its regular season.
Spacek on injured reserve
CHICAGO, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- The Chicago Blackhawks placed defenseman Jaroslav Spacek on injured reserve on Monday with a broken finger on his right hand.
Spacek suffered the injury Sunday in a 4-4 tie with the Detroit Red Wings and will be re-evaluated next week.
The 27-year-old Spacek, a native of the Czech Republic, has no goals and three assists in 23 games this season. He is in his first full season with Chicago after being acquired from the Florida Panthers on November 6, 2000.
Rams host Bucs in NFL clash
ST. LOUIS, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went against the St. Louis Rams Monday night, needing another classic effort to make a strong playoff push.
Warrick Dunn capped a memorable contest with a one-yard touchdown leap with 48 seconds to play as the Buccaneers posted a thrilling 38-35 victory at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium last season.
But the site of this Monday night game was the Dome at America's Center, where the Rams posted an 11-6 win over the Buccaneers in the NFC championship game two years ago.
The Rams are 8-1, best record in the NFL, and are coming off a 24-17 win at New England last Sunday night. Warner threw for a season-high 401 yards and three touchdowns.
Dolphin line problems continue
MIAMI, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- The Miami Dolphins announced Monday they have lost another offensive lineman--left guard Mark Dixon.
Dixon suffered a broken right leg in the first quarter of Miami's 34-27 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday and likely will miss the rest of the season.
Losing Dixon is an especially tough blow for the Dolphins, who have had to weather numerous injuries on the line. A fourth-year player who also has the ability to play tackle, Dixon had started 25 of Miami's last 26 games.
Center Tim Ruddy already was out with a knee injury after starting 67 consecutive games, as were tackles Brent Smith and Marcus Spriggs, also out for the season with leg injuries.
The Dolphins (7-3) are tied with the New York Jets for first place in the AFC East, but lost twice to the Jets. Miami hosts Denver on Sunday.
Tampa goalie NHL player of week
NEW YORK, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Nikolai Khabibulin, the Tampa Bay goaltender who went 3-0 with two straight shutouts, was named NHL Player of the Week Monday.
Khabibulin had a 0.67 goals-against average and a .980 save percentage in the three games. On Friday, he posted the first of two consecutive shutouts, turning away 29 shots in a 2-0 win over the New Jersey Devils. On Sunday, Khabibulin recorded his 25th career shutout in a 4-0 victory over Carolina. His 41 saves marked the most recorded by an NHL goaltender in a shutout this season.
Bills release placekicker
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y., Nov. 26 (UPI) -- A day after missing an extra point in a loss to the Miami Dolphins, struggling kicker Jake Arians has been waived by the Buffalo Bills. The team is expected to sign another kicker by Wednesday.
"It's more than just that (the missed extra point), we had lots of things that came up in that ballgame with situations that came up towards the end, but it wasn't just the extra point, no," Bills coach Gregg Williams said of his decision to release Arians.
The rookie kicker replaced injured veteran Steve Christie, who was waived, and has struggled with distance, missing 9-of-15 kicks from beyond the 29. On short kicks inside the 29, he converted all six field-goal attempts.
Arians' missed extra point Sunday left the Bills with a 27-17 lead with 8:17 remaining. They eventually lost, 34-27 to Miami.
Buffalo, which has its worst record at 1-9 since 1984, recorded its only win when Arians kicked a 46-yard field goal with 63 seconds left in a 13-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 18.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- The Washington Wizards activated rookie center Brendan Haywood from the injured list Monday.
Haywood tore ligaments in his left thumb during an October 13 preseason contest against the Miami Heat. He averaged 6.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in two preseason games. He could make his season debut Tuesday at Cleveland.
The 7-foot Haywood attended North Carolina, the same school as teammate Michael Jordan. Haywood was selected 20th overall by the Cavaliers, who dealt him hours later to the Orlando Magic for center Michael Doleac.