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Dec. 3, 2012 at 5:15 PM   |   Comments

Coaches vote Notre Dame, Alabama 1-2

MCLEAN, Va., Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Notre Dame and Alabama finished 1-2 in the final regular-season USA Today Coaches college football poll.

Notre Dame (12-0) completed a perfect regular season with a win at Southern California on Nov. 24. Alabama (12-1) claimed the Southeastern Conference Championship with a 32-28 win over Georgia on Saturday.

The Fighting Irish, as they have each of the previous two weeks since they took over the No. 1 spot in the poll, receive 56 first-place votes this week. Alabama has the other three, up one from last week when the 59th vote went to Georgia.

Notre Dame and Alabama were given the spots in the Bowl Championships Series title game to be played Jan. 7 in Miami. Alabama will be looking to repeat as BCS champion. The title game will mark the seventh consecutive year an SEC school has played in the BCS finale.

The SEC has six teams in the Top 10, the most schools ranked for any conference. The Big 12 and Big Ten each have four. None of the Big Ten members are higher than 17th, although Ohio State (12-0) would certainly be ranked and Penn State (8-4) likely would be if the two schools were not on probation.

Oregon (11-1) is third in the rankings followed by Florida (11-1) and Georgia (11-2).

Kansas State (11-1) moves up one spot to sixth, switching places with Louisiana State (10-2), which is seventh. Stanford (11-2) comes in eighth. with SEC members Texas A&M (10-2) and South Carolina (10-2), in order, filling out the Top 10.

Oklahoma (10-2) and Florida State (11-2) remain 11th and 12th, respectively, with Clemson (0-2) up one to 13th and Oregon State (9-3) going from 17th to No. 14. Boise State (10-2) is voted 15th.

MAC champion Northern Illinois (12-1) moves up to 16th, with Northwestern (9-3) No. 17. Louisville (10-2), after the de facto Big East championship game win at Rutgers, jumps five spots to No. 18. UCLA (9-4) drops three to 19th and Utah State (10-2) is 20th.

Nebraska (10-3) falls eight places to 21st and is followed by Big Ten rivals Michigan (8-4) and previously unranked Wisconsin (8-5) at Nos. 22 and 23. Wisconsin thumped Nebraska 70-31 Saturday for the Big Ten Championship. San Jose State (10-2), another new entry, comes in at 24th and Texas (84) falls four spots to 25th.


LeBron James is SI's Sportsman of the Year

NEW YORK, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Miami Heat star LeBron James, who helped the team to the 2012 NBA title, has been selected the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.

James, who turns 28 this month, picked up his third NBA Most Valuable Player award while helping the Heat to a 46-20 record and a win over Oklahoma City in the best-of-seven NBA Finals.

Sports Illustrated also pointed to the charity work by a foundation James began to help children in Akron, Ohio, his hometown, as a key part of its editors' decision to honor James.

"This year there was an endless list of high-quality possibilities," Time Inc. Sports Group Editor Paul Fichtenbaum said in an announcement Monday. "But LeBron's stirring accomplishments on and off the court were impossible to ignore.

"He showed tremendous heart during times of adversity, and he delivered with relentless determination. Equally as impressive, although much less heralded, was his development of a hands-on educational program in an Akron, Ohio, school district which will have a profound and long-lasting impact on its students. His accomplishments embody the finest traditions of this award."

The 2012 crown marked the first NBA title for James, who moved to Miami two seasons ago. That departure from Cleveland caused much scorn against James, starting with the nationally television announcement about moving to the Heat but also the perceived slight to Cleveland and his native Ohio.

In James' first season in Miami, the Heat won 58 games (third most in the league) but fell to Dallas in the finals.

The 2011-12 season was seen as redemption for James, who averaged 27.1 points in the regular season and a playoffs-best 30.3 points.

"Did I think an award like this was possible two years ago?" James asked in a Sports Illustrated article. "No, I did not. I thought I would be helping a lot of kids and raise $3 million by going on TV and saying, 'Hey, I want to play for the Miami Heat.'


Alex Rodriguez to have hip surgery

NASHVILLE, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriquez is to have hip surgery that will keep him out of the lineup when next season starts, the team said Monday.

Rodriguez, 37, will have an arthroscopic procedure to repair a torn labrum and bone impingement while correcting a cyst on his left hip, the Yankees said.

He had similar, but not identical, surgery on his right hip in March 2009 and was still able to play 124 games the following season.

The current problem was discovered during an annual physical examination. Rodriguez is to complete 4-6 weeks preparatory work before the surgery, which would be in January. Recovery time after the operation would be 4-6 months. That would put him back in the lineup in June.

Doctors examining Rodriguez said the injury probably contributed to his late-season struggles while hitting.

Rodriguez hit .272 -- 28 points below his career mark -- in 122 games last season, with 57 runs batted in. In the playoffs, he had just three singles in 25 at-bats. He was twice lifted for a pinch hitter and kept out of the starting lineup for three games.

Rodriguez, after 18 home runs last season, is fifth on the all-time home run list with 647.


Hall of Fame names 3 early-era inductees

NASHVILLE, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Jacob Ruppert, New York Yankees owner in the early 20th century, is among three men selected for induction in the Baseball Hall of Fame by a special committee.

Ruppert, the Yankees' owner from 1915-39; umpire Hank O'Day, a member of the umpiring crew for the first World Series;, and Deacon White, who played in the 19th century, received enough votes from the pre-integration era committee for selection to the Hall of Fame.

The committee considered a series of team executives, umpires and players from baseball's earliest days through 1946. A person must be on 12 of the 16 committee members' ballots for induction.

Ruppert is perhaps best known for buying Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox before the 1920 season and building Yankee Stadium in 1923. The Yankees won 10 American League pennants and seven World Series while he was owner.

O'Day was an umpire for 10 World Series, including the first in 1903 in a National League umpiring career that covered 30 seasons. He is the 10th umpire to win induction into the Hall of Fame.

White, who started his career as a bare-handed catcher, played 20 seasons in the National Association, the National League and the Players League. He hit .303 over his career, collecting 2,067 hits in 1,560 games. He was his league's batting champion twice.

They will be inducted into the Hall of fame on July 28. The result of the Baseball Writers Association of America Hall of Fame vote is to be released Jan. 9.

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