BC-AP Sports Preview Digest
Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Saturday. A full Sports Digest will be sent by about 3 p.m. All times EST:
– HOUSTON – Rookie quarterback Connor Cook leads the Oakland Raiders in their first playoff game since the 2002 season in a wild-card matchup with the AFC South champion Houston Texans, who start Brock Osweiler. Game starts 4:35 p.m.
– SEATTLE – The NFC West champion Seattle Seahawks host the wild-card Detroit Lions in the opening round of the playoffs. Seattle has won nine straight home playoff games, while the Lions’ last road playoff win came in 1957. Game starts 8:15 p.m.
– Previews of Sunday’s two NFL wild-card games: Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants at Green Bay Packers.
– TAMPA, Fla. – Five days after replacing Lane Kiffin as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian talks about the national championship game against Clemson – and a past that’s been a mix of troubled and triumphant.
– TAMPA, Fla. – Turns out, defense does win championships, even in this era of no-huddle offenses and high-scoring spread formations. Alabama is proof of that, building one of college football’s greatest dynasties on the strength of a defense that always ranks among the nation’s best.
– FRISCO, Texas – For the first time in six years, North Dakota State won’t be the FCS champion. James Madison, which beat the five-defending champions, plays four-time champ Youngstown State. Game starts noon.
– PHILADELPHIA – No. 1 Villanova tries to bounce back from its first loss of the season when it plays Marquette. Game starts 7:30 p.m.
– DURHAM, N.C. – With Mike Krzyzewski out following back surgery, Jeff Capel makes his season debut as No. 8 Duke’s acting head coach – weather permitting – when the Blue Devils play host to Boston College. Game starts 2 p.m.
– KAPALUA, Hawaii – Ryan Moore and Justin Thomas were tied for the lead going into the third round of the SBS Tournament of Champions.
– ARCADIA, Calif. – Trainer Bob Baffert saddles American Anthem in the $100,000 Sham Stakes for 3-year-olds as the Kentucky Derby prep season gets underway at Santa Anita. Two other graded stakes are on the card too.
– BRISBANE, Australia – A ruthless Karolina Pliskova wins all but five points in the first six games to set up a 6-0, 6-3 rout of Alize Cornet in the Brisbane International final, setting an ominous tone for the first Grand Slam tournament of the season. On the men’s side, Milos Raonic’s title defense ends in a 7-6 (7), 6-2 semifinal loss to Grigor Dimitrov, who will play third-seeded Kei Nishikori in Sunday’s final.
– HARRISBURG, Pa. – Penn State’s costs related to the Jerry Sandusky scandal are approaching a quarter-billion dollars and growing, five years after the former assistant football coach’s arrest on child molestation charges.