BC-AP Sports Preview Digest

Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Tuesday. A full Sports Digest will be sent by about 3 p.m. All times EST:

– MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – They are overlooked and disrespected, playing in the shadows of two of the nation's most prolific offenses. Now, the defenses at both Clemson and Oklahoma have a chance to make their mark in the Orange Bowl.

– ARLINGTON, Texas – Freshman running back L.J. Scott helped Michigan State reach the College Football Playoff with a touchdown run and reach that will go down in Spartans history. Freshman receiver Calvin Ridley gave Alabama the big-play threat it desperately needed this season. The two rookies could play major roles in the Cotton Bowl.

– ORLANDO, Fla. – No. 10 North Carolina (11-2) looks to become the first team in program history to win 12 games in a season when it takes on No. 18 Baylor (9-3) in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Game starts 5:30 p.m.

– HOUSTON – Leonard Fournette leads No. 22 LSU against Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl. Game starts 9 p.m.

– IOWA CITY, Iowa – No. 1 Michigan State, which struggled to get past Oakland without star Denzel Valentine, opens Big Ten play against Iowa. Game starts 9 p.m.

– CINCINNATI – The Bengals blew a 14-point lead and a chance to clinch a first-round bye in Denver. Now their road in the playoffs is a lot more intriguing and potentially a whole lot harder.

– PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of wiggle room and nearly out of time heading into the final week of the season, thanks in part to slow starts and sloppy finishes.

– TUCSON, Ariz. – Nevada and Colorado State meet in the Arizona Bowl, the first non-playoff bowl game between teams from the same conference since 1979. Game starts 7:30 p.m.

– FORT WORTH, Texas – Air Force makes its eighth bowl appearance in nine years – five of them at the Armed Forces Bowl – against Cal in a game of contrasting offensive styles. Game starts 2 p.m.

– NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Louisville Cardinals are turning back to a freshman quarterback who hasn't started a game since Oct. 30 for the Music City Bowl. Coach Kevin Sumlin is down to his third option after both Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray transferred away from Texas A&M.

– SANTA CATERINA VALFURVA, Italy – Ten days after the spectacular crash of Olympic downhill champion Matthias Mayer, a debate is raging on the close-knit World Cup skiing circuit about the effectiveness of his air bag safety system.