Tennessee-LSU game to decide Rose Bowl berth
ATLANTA, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- An unusually long college football regular season comes to a close tonight, but the extra time has yet to yield two clear-cut contenders to play for college football's national title.
Undefeated and top-ranked Miami (11-0) has a rightful claim for one of the berths and will play in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 3.
No. 2 Tennessee (10-1) can grab the other spot if it can defeat No. 20 Louisiana State (8-3) in the Southeastern Conference title game at the Georgia Dome.
A Tennessee victory will provide relative order to the Bowl Championship Series, but a win by LSU will throw the already maligned system into further chaos.
To make matters worse for the BCS, it can expect a chorus of complaints from No. 8 Brigham Young should the Cougars (12-0) complete an undefeated regular season on Saturday at Hawaii.
Following an impressive 34-32 win at Florida on Saturday that clinched the SEC East title, Tennessee vaulted six spots to second in the latest BCS poll and would almost certainly retain that post with a win on Saturday.
Nebraska (11-1), which was humiliated last month by Colorado, 62-36, is third in the BCS and would likely earn the trip to Pasadena should the Volunteers falter.
The final BCS standings and bowl pairings will be announced on Sunday.
Lakers suffer rare setback
SACRAMENTO, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Lakers went more than three quarters without a three-pointer and had their nine-game winning streak snapped Friday night in a 97-91 loss to the Sacramento Kings, who got 25 points from Peja Stojakovic.
Coming off a season-high 46 points against Dallas, Shaquille O'Neal was his usual unstoppable self in the low post. The 7-2 center led Los Angeles by making 14 of 23 shots and grabbing 16 rebounds as he overpowered the Kings in the paint.
Sacramento often double- and triple-teamed O'Neal, forcing him to pass to the perimeter to wide-open teammates, who made just four of 19 three-pointers. As a result, Los Angeles led just once for 21 seconds and spent the rest of the game trying to rally.
Meanwhile, the Kings were making their long-distance shots. Led by Stojakovic, Sacramento made eight of 12 from the beyond the arc, including four in the early stages of the fourth quarter while opening a 14-point lead.
Other NBA results: Indiana 98, Chicago 83; Toronto 98, Denver 96 in overtime; Boston 109, Phoenix 102 in overtime; New Jersey 96, Cleveland 84; Orlando 129, Philadelphia 76; Charlotte 106, Golden State 89; San Antonio 86, Philadelphia 76; Miami 98, Seattle 94 in overtime; Utah 102, Los Angeles Clippers 86.
Turco records shutout
Turco made nine saves in the first and second periods and five in the third to secure his second straight shutout and extend his personal winning streak to three games.
The closest Edmonton came to scoring came midway through the first period when a puck trickled underneath Turco and came inches shy of the goal line before he turned and grabbed it.
Turco made a pair of saves in the final minute to preserve the shutout, turning away Jochen Hecht's backhander by sprawling across the ice and knocking a slap shot from defenseman Janne Niinimaa over the net with his blocker.
The shutout was the fifth of Turco's career. He has two of Dallas' three shutouts this season, with Ed Belfour recording one on Nov. 2.
Lehtinen scored his first goal 11 minutes into the first period to make it 3-0. Benoit Hogue's shot from the right faceoff dot bounced off goaltender Tommy Salo's pads to Lehtinen at the left side of the net, where he tapped home the rebound.
Lehtinen capped the scoring 3 1/2 minutes into the second when he split the defense and skated in on rookie Jussi Markkanen before lifting a backhander over the goalie's right shoulder.
Other NHL results: Colorado 4, Buffalo 1; Phoenix 1, Detroit 1; Chicago 4, New York Islanders 3.
TCU earns bowl bid
HATTIESBURG, Miss., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Adrian Madise's acrobatic, 74-yard touchdown reception early in the third quarter Friday night turned out to be the winning score as the Texas Christian Horned Frogs clinched a berth in the Galleryfurniture.com Bowl with a 14-12 victory over Southern Mississippi.
Madise made a one-handed, juggling grab on the run with a defender draped all over him and raced into the end zone without breaking stride to give the Horned Frogs (6-5, 4-3 Conference-USA) a 14-10 lead with 11:09 left in the third quarter.
TCU secured Conference USA's fourth and final bowl spot and will face Texas A&M in Houston on Dec. 28.
Southern Mississippi (6-5, 4-3) closed to within 14-12 when Antoine Cash sacked Casey Printers in the end zone on a blitz for a safety with 1:29 left in the third period.
The Golden Eagles had a chance to take the lead, but Brant Hanna came up short on a 44-yard field goal attempt with 3:05 remaining.
Despite finishing with six wins, Southern Mississippi did not receive a bowl did.
It was a bittersweet night for Golden Eagles quarterback Jeff Kelly. He broke Brett Favre's single-season school records for completions and total offense, but also threw three critical interceptions -- all in the second half.
Tyson cancels fight with Mercer
Tyson and Mercer were supposed to meet in a pay-per-view bout between former heavyweight champions, but the remainder of the card and venue had not yet been made final.
As the No. 1 contender to Lewis' WBC and IBF belts, Tyson decided to prepare himself for a marquee match with his English counterpart.
"This is a business and I'm sure Ray understands why I need to take Lennox out now," Tyson said in a statement.
One of the reasons may have been a lawsuit Lewis filed Tuesday in New York to have Tyson drop the Mercer fight or have the WBC remove him from the mandatory challenger's position.
Isringhausen headed for St. Louis
ST. LOUIS, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Jason Isringhausen has apparently decided to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he will make less money than he might have but will be close to home.
There were reports Friday that the Oakland Athletics' closer has signed a four-year, $27 million deal to join St. Louis. No official announcement was made by the Cardinals.
A resident of Godfrey, Ill., Isringhausen turned down Texas' four-year offer worth $30 million.
After being beset by injuries as a starter with the New York Mets, Isringhausen has become one of the game's premier closers, recording 67 saves over the last two seasons with the Athletics.
The signing would give the Cardinals depth in a bullpen that includes lefthander Steve Kline and righthander Dave Veres, but has been without a quality closer since Dennis Eckersley's retirement in 1997.
Athletics trade for Billy Koch
OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Needing to fill a void left by the departing Jason Isringhausen, the Oakland Athletics Friday acquired closer Billy Koch from the Toronto Blue Jays for a pair of minor leaguers.
Koch, a hard-throwing righthander, has 100 career saves and is only 26. He was the fourth-overall pick out of Clemson in the 1996 draft.
Oakland gave up third baseman Eric Hinske and righthander Justin Miller to acquire Koch. Hinske was considered one of the Athletics' top prospects, but Eric Chavez holds down third base with the big league club.
Ventura, Justice involved in trade
NEW YORK, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The New York Yankees acquired third baseman Robin Ventura from the New York Mets Friday for outfielder David Justice in the most significant trade ever made between the teams.
"In this job you have to have guts and take chances," Mets general manager Steve Phillips said. "This is the right thing to do for us, and for the Yankees perspective I understand where Robin is a great fit for them. This is a win-win trade for both teams."
The Yankees wanted Ventura, who is scheduled to make $8.25 million in 2002, as a one-year stopgap while they wait for prospect Drew Henson to take over the position. Scott Brosius, New York's third baseman since 1998, retired last month.
Desperate for outfield power, the Mets were willing to take Justice and his $7 million salary for 2002 as long as they were able to get rid of Ventura's price tag.
Lindstrom re-signs with Red Wings
DETROIT, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Reigning Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom will stay in "Hockeytown" for at least the next two seasons.
The Detroit Red Wings Friday signed Lidstrom to a two-year contract extension through the 2003-04 season.
Financial terms were not disclosed. Lidstrom is in the final year of a three-year contract worth $21.75 million.
A native of Sweden, the 31-year-old Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy honoring the NHL's top defenseman last season after finishing as a runner-up for the honor each of the previous three years.
Heisman Trophy set for tonight
NEW YORK, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The only certainty over the Heisman Trophy is that the 2001 winner will be a quarterback.
Like the race to see who will oppose Miami in the Rose Bowl, the contest to determine the 67th Heisman Trophy winner is too close to call. There is speculation that the voting could be among the closest in history. The smallest margin was in 1985, when Bo Jackson of Auburn edged Chuck Long of Iowa by just 45 points.
Crouch won the Walter Camp Award as player of the year and the Davey O'Brien Award as top quarterback on Thursday and Dorsey won the Maxwell Award as best all-around player.
This year's Heisman presentation will take place at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square instead of at the Downtown Athletic Club, which was damaged in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Calmus wins Butkus Award
ORLANDO, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Rocky Calmus of Oklahoma was named Friday as the winner of the Butkus Award, which recognizes the top linebacker in the country.
Also a finalist last year, Calmus is the first Sooner to capture the award since Brian Bosworth in 1985 and 1986. Bosworth is the only multiple winner.
The other finalists, pared from a list of 12 semifinalists, were Maryland junior E.J. Henderson and UCLA senior Robert Thomas.
The 6-3, 235-pound Calmus has 117 tackles, with 15 coming for losses, four sacks and an interception during his senior year. The Sooners will face a Southeastern Conference team in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1.
Hill out of action again
ORLANDO, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Grant Hill's troublesome left foot again has landed him on the injured list.
The All-Star forward of the Orlando Magic has soreness near the area that has undergone two operations and will miss at least the next five games, the team announced Friday.
Hill has missed five of the last six games with what the team described as a sore left foot. The Magic announced no timetable for his return.
One of the NBA's most versatile players, Hill has played just 18 games since joining the Magic prior to last season. He is in the second season of a seven-year, $93 million contract.
Hill, 29, suffered a bone bruise in his left ankle late in the 1999-2000 season, when he was with the Detroit Pistons. He played through the injury in two playoff games and later was diagnosed with a broken ankle.