Top-seeded Clemson will play No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl in the first College Football Playoff semifinal on New Year’s Eve. No. 2 Alabama will play No. 3 Michigan State at the Cotton Bowl in the nightcap of the Dec. 31 doubleheader.
No drama. No complaints. Nothing at all like the week-to-week mayhem – with one once-in-a-lifetime-play after another – that made the season memorable.
In the end, the only real debate was how to rank the top four teams.
LOS ANGELES (AP) Southern California coach Clay Helton fired four of the Trojans’ assistant coaches Sunday night, including defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox.
Helton made the moves six days after the interim tag was removed from his title, and one day after the Trojans (8-5) lost 41-22 to Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game.
Helton also fired defensive backs coach Keith Heyward, defensive line coach Chris Wilson and offensive line coach Bob Connelly. Wilcox and Heyward were among several assistants who left Washington for USC along with Steve Sarkisian after the 2013 season, while Helton had been an assistant at USC since 2010.
USC also accepted a berth in the Holiday Bowl on Sunday, agreeing to face Wisconsin on Dec. 30.NFL
LONDON (AP) – The FBI is investigating Sepp Blatter’s role in a kickbacks scandal that involved his predecessor as FIFA president, Joao Havelange, the BBC reported Sunday.
The BBC said it will air a program Monday with evidence that indicates Blatter knew about millions of dollars in bribes being paid out to senior FIFA officials in the 1990s by sports marketing company ISL in return for television and marketing rights.
Havelange had to resign as honorary FIFA president over his role in the case, but Blatter has denied knowledge of the payments.
However, the BBC says it has seen a letter apparently written by Havelange that suggests Blatter, who is currently suspended by FIFA in a separate case, was aware of the payments but took no action.
NEW YORK (AP) – Golden State’s first game against the Nets went down to the wire, and the rematch seemed headed the same way.
With one of his electrifying flurries, Stephen Curry changed things in a hurry.
Curry scored 16 of his 28 points in the third quarter and the Warriors ran their NBA-record start to 22-0 by beating Brooklyn 114-98 on Sunday night.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Free-agent pitcher Mike Pelfrey has finalized a $16 million, two-year contract with the Detroit Tigers, who also added catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia for the major league minimum of $507,500.
The 31-year-old Pelfrey joins a Detroit rotation bolstered by the signing of fellow right-hander Jordan Zimmermann less than a week ago. Pelfrey spent the last three seasons with Minnesota and went 6-11 with a 4.26 ERA this year.
Detroit finished last this year after winning the AL Central the previous four seasons and also has acquired closer Francisco Rodriguez and outfielder Cameron Maybin since the end of the season.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – The Oakland Athletics filled a key need a day before the start of baseball’s winter meetings, agreeing to a $22 million, three-year contract with free-agent reliever Ryan Madson, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said.
The person spoke Sunday on condition of anonymity because a physical was still needed to finalize the deal. In Madson, the club has found another proven pitcher for a bullpen that had an American League-worst 4.63 ERA last season for a team that lost 35 one-run games – and the veteran gets to play in his home state of California.