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Smith Leads Buckeyes to Fiesta Bowl Win (AP)
Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith is congratulated by teammates after their 34-20 win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl college football game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2006 in Tempe, Ariz.. (AP Photo/Matt York)AP - Troy Smith outplayed Brady Quinn and Jim Tressel outfoxed Charlie Weis. Fourth-ranked Ohio State jumped on No. 5 Notre Dame with big play after big play Monday night in a 34-20 Fiesta romp, sending the Irish to their eighth consecutive bowl defeat.


Maurice Clarett Surrenders to Police (AP)
Running back Maurice Clarett smiles as he responds to questions at a news conference at the Denver Broncos' headquarters in Denver in this April 24, 2005 photo. Clarett was accused of using a gun to rob two people in an alley behind a bar early Sunday in Columbus, Ohio, police said.  Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett turned himself in Monday night on charges of robbing two people at gunpoint in an alley behind a bar.(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, file)AP - Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett turned himself in Monday night on charges of robbing two people with a gun in an alley behind a bar.


Wisconsin Sends Alvarez Out With Bowl Win (AP)
Wisconsin players, from left, Victor Meckstroth (59) Joel Nellis (89) and Jason Pociask celebrate their 24-10 victory over Auburn with the trophy and coach Barry Alvarez, right, after the Capital One Bowl football game in Orlando, Fla., Monday Jan. 2, 2006. It was Alvarez' last game as Wisconsin coach; he will now ocus on his duties as the school's athletic director.(AP Photo/John Raoux)AP - With a masterful offensive performance and a surprisingly stingy defense, the Wisconsin Badgers gave coach Barry Alvarez a proper send-off. Brian Calhoun rushed for 213 yards, John Stocco passed for 301 and Brandon Williams had 173 yards receiving, lifting the No. 21 Badgers to a 24-10 victory over No. 7 Auburn in the Capital One Bowl on Monday.


Hatchet Falls on Four More NFL Coaches (AP)
The Houston Texans head coach, Dom Capers, addresses the Media after being fired as head coach, by owner Bob McNair, Monday, January, 2, 2006 in Houston. No replacement for Capers has been named.  AP PHOTO?Tim Johnson)AP - Almost as soon as the St. Louis Rams announced Monday that Mike Martz was out as head coach, they asked the Chicago Bears for permission to talk to Ron Rivera, their defensive coordinator. Same thing in Houston: the Texans fired Dom Capers and asked Denver for permission to talk to offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.


Vick Rallies Hokies Past Louisville 35-24 (AP)
Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick, left, is sacked by Louisville Cardinals' Adrian Grady during the first quarter of the Gator Bowl football game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2006, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Coale)AP - Virginia Tech players danced around the field, pausing for hugs, posing for photographs and praising their come-from-behind victory. The Hokies had a much better experience in the River City this time around.


Pennington Question Biggest One for Jets (AP)
New York Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde, right, is greeted by his daughter, Madeleine, as his son, Vinny Jr. looks on after the Jets beat the Buffalo Bills, 30-26, in  their NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 1, 2006, at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Testaverde did not play and is expected to return to retirement. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)AP - Chad Pennington is adamant he will be the starting quarterback for the New York Jets next season.


Knicks Outlast Suns 140-133 in Triple OT (AP)
New York Knicks Stephon Marbury (3), who had 32 points, takes a shot as Phoenix Suns James Jones (22) tries to defend but is nowhere nearby in the third overtime as the Knicks defeated the  Suns 140-133 in triple overtime in NBA baskeball action, Monday, Jan. 2, 2006, at Madison Square Garden in New York. Knicks David Lee (42) looks on. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)AP - Stephon Marbury scored 32 points, including seven in the third overtime, and added 10 assists against his former team as the New York Knicks outlasted the Phoenix Suns 140-133 Monday night to snap a three-game losing streak.


Pirates Sign Edwards to Minor League Deal (AP)
AP - Utilityman Mike Edwards is the latest former Los Angeles Dodgers player to sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates, agreeing to a minor league contract Sunday.

Crespo Helps Chelsea to Premier Lead (AP)
AP - Hernan Crespo scored seconds after entering as a substitute to help defending champion Chelsea win 3-1 Monday at West Ham and open a 14 point-lead in England's Premier League.

Pens' Crosby Loses NHL Debut in Canada (AP)
Toronto Maple Leafs Clarke Wilm, right, hits Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby during third period NHL action in Toronto, Monday January 2, 2006.  The Leafs beat the Penguins 3-2. (AP Photo/Aaron Harris, CP)AP - Bryan McCabe spoiled Sidney Crosby's NHL debut in Canada, scoring 1:02 into overtime to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night.


Read and React: Last call
Bears fans get in their final shots before a certain NFL writer has to figure out how to eat his words.

Packers fire Sherman after 4-12 season (AP)
Even as losses and injuries mounted during the worst Green Bay Packers season in 15 years, Mike Sherman wouldn't publicly plead his case to keep his job. When prodded, Sherman said only that he hoped the team's management would take into account everything he accomplished in six seasons, not just this year.

Rams dismiss coach Mike Martz (AP)
Now that Mike Martz has medical clearance to return to coaching, he'll need to find a team. Martz was fired as coach of the St. Louis Rams on Monday after a 6-10 season in which he missed the final 11 games because of a heart ailment. That illness did not stop him from repeated clashes with the front office, the major reason for his dismissal with a year left on his contract.

Saints dismiss Haslett after going 3-13 (AP)
The New Orleans Saints acknowledged the troubles Jim Haslett faced through the hurricane-disrupted 2005 season, and praised the coach for an admirable job under the circumstances. After they fired him, that is. General manager Mickey Loomis said Monday's firing of Haslett was about more than the 3-13 record the Saints endured after Hurricane Katrina wiped out New Orleans and forced the team to set...

Texans coach Capers fired (AP)
The worst season in Houston Texans history cost Dom Capers his job. Owner Bob McNair fired the only coach the expansion Texans ever had Monday, a day after Houston finished its season with an NFL-worst 2-14 record. "I'm totally committed to producing a winning team and I'm going to do everything within my power to see that we do that," McNair said.

Wilf thanks Tice, looks for replacement (AP)
Firing Mike Tice shortly after the season finale has the Minnesota Vikings on a growing line of NFL teams searching for a head coach. Vowing Monday to pick a replacement quickly, owner Zygi Wilf continued to place his stamp on the franchise he and his fellow investors purchased this summer. Also on the agenda this month is finding a new personnel director to serve as a de facto general manager.

Brees needs surgery on torn labrum (AP)
The Chargers' decision on Drew Brees' future became much cloudier Monday when the quarterback said he needs surgery for a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. Brees dislocated his right shoulder in a home loss to the Denver Broncos on Saturday, and an MRI on Sunday revealed the torn cartilage. The fifth-year pro plans to travel Tuesday to Birmingham, Ala., to get a second opinion from orthopedic...

Colts hoping extra rest pays off (AP)
Coach Tony Dungy believes his Indianapolis Colts have already received their biggest advantage from earning the AFC's top seed -- rest. He's not even concerned with the other 'R' word -- rust. Most starters saw limited action in the past two games and have another weekend off. So, Dungy expects the Colts to return for their second-round playoff game primed to make a Super Bowl run.

Big Ben more confident in Year 2 (AP)
He got by last season on instinct, confidence, a wristband scribbled with hundreds of plays and a mindset he could do no wrong. Unfortunately for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger proved during the playoffs that no NFL quarterback is perfect. A year later, Roethlisberger isn't the player he was a January ago -- and the Steelers (11-5) think that could make a big difference as they go into...

Bengals struggling heading into playoffs (AP)
The NFL's feel-good story for much of the season isn't feeling very good heading into a game that's been 15 years in the making. Two sickening losses will do that. The Cincinnati Bengals finished the regular season with two of their worst games, an undeniable downturn for their first playoff appearance since 1990.

Nothing but Nets
Behind the hot shooting of Richard Jefferson, New Jersey has scored a spot in the rankings' top 10.

Knicks outlast Suns 140-133 in 3OT (AP)
Desperate for a win, the New York Knicks would have played all night. But after a long road trip, that was too much to ask of the Phoenix Suns. Stephon Marbury scored 32 points, including seven in the third overtime, and added 10 assists against his former team as the Knicks outlasted the Suns 140-133 Monday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

Martin, Anthony lead Nuggets past Celts (AP)
Kenyon Martin scored 24 points and Carmelo Anthony added 23 to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 120-110 win over the Boston Celtics on Monday night that snapped a three-game skid. Andre Miller had 20 points and 14 assists that helped Denver win at the Pepsi Center for the first time since Dec. 23. All three of their latest losses had come at home, sending them a season-worst three games under .500.

Redd's big third quarter carries Bucks (AP)
After a poor first half, Michael Redd found his shooting touch in the third quarter. Redd scored 17 of his 29 points in the third quarter and Mo Williams added 13 points and nine assists to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 93-92 victory over the slumping Chicago Bulls on Monday night. Redd and the Bucks quickly erased an 11-point deficit by going on a 22-6 run in the third quarter.

Jones helps Pacers end four-game skid (AP)
Fred Jones knew that the Indiana Pacers needed a strong start with two starters out. Jones scored a season-high 26 points and Stephen Jackson added 22 to help the Pacers snap a four-game losing streak with a 115-96 victory over the SuperSonics on Monday night. "We were able to put the losses behind us and get off to a good start," said Jones, who hit 10 of 16 field goals to lead the Pacers (16-12)...

Paul passes Hornets over Bobcats (AP)
Once New Orleans figured out Charlotte's small lineup, the Hornets were able to pull away for a big win. Chris Paul scored 24 points and had 11 assists and David West took advantage of Charlotte's depleted front line to score 20 points in the Hornets' 103-86 win over the Bobcats on Monday night. "We had to get a feel for those guys," Paul said.

Riley signs contract extension with Heat (AP)
Miami Heat coach Pat Riley has signed a contract extension, the team announced Sunday without specifying any terms of the deal, including whether it addressed his role as coach or team president. Riley did not address the extension on Sunday, when the Heat defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-70. Since taking over for Stan Van Gundy, who resigned as coach last month, Riley is 8-3 with Miami.

Jazz take advantage of Kobe-less Lakers (AP)
Surprisingly, the Utah Jazz weren't overjoyed about facing the Los Angeles Lakers without Kobe Bryant in uniform. Their egos say they want to beat teams when they're at full strength. And besides, this time they had to guard everybody closely instead of just one player who monopolizes the ball on a regular basis.

Knicks suspend C James indefinitely (AP)
The New York Knicks indefinitely suspended Jerome James on Monday for conduct detrimental to the team, saying the center was unprepared to practice Sunday. The Knicks said they would not comment further on the suspension, and coach Larry Brown would not address James or his status before the Knicks' game against the Phoenix Suns.

Brand, Clippers finally win in Portland (AP)
Elton Brand was slightly taken aback when told he had never won before at Portland's Rose Garden as a Clipper. In fact, the Clippers hadn't won up north since 1999. That streak ended Sunday night. Brand had 20 points and 11 rebounds and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Trail Blazers 100-94. Brand, who is in his fifth season with Los Angeles, was more immediately concerned with the future than his...

Power rankings
An explosive week returns Ottawa to the top spot in the year-end Yahoo! Sports NHL Power Rankings.

Thrashers rip Sens in Heatley's return (AP)
Dany Heatley expected a warm reception from Atlanta fans in his first game against his former team. He didn't get it. With the fans booing Heatley's every move, Vyacheslav Kozlov had three goals and an assist and Marian Hossa -- acquired from Ottawa for Heatley in late August -- added two goals and an assist Monday in the Thrashers' 8-3 victory over the Senators.

Leafs spoil Crosby's Canada debut (AP)
Sidney Crosby's NHL debut in Canada didn't go as well as he wanted. Bryan McCabe scored 1:02 into overtime to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night. Crosby had an assist, and now has five goals and five assists in five games since being left off the Canadian Olympic team.

St. Louis' SH goal lifts Tampa by Isles (AP)
Martin St. Louis was all alone when he screamed for Paul Ranger to get him the puck. When you're a rookie NHL defenseman, you do what the reigning MVP tells you. St. Louis took Ranger's long pass in open ice and scored a short-handed breakaway goal with 4:57 left to lift the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-1 victory Monday night over the New York Islanders.

Flyers' Nittymaki stops Bruins, 1-0 (AP)
The Philadelphia Flyers have had little problems so far with the NHL's longest road trip this season. Antero Niittymaki made 27 saves for his second career shutout, and Jeff Carter scored to lead the well-traveled Flyers to a 1-0 victory Monday over the Bruins. The Flyers posted their fifth win in their sixth game of a league-high 11-game road trip.

Lombardi gives Flames third straight win (AP)
After scoring the game-winning goal, Matthew Lombardi gave Darren McCarty all the credit. Lombardi scored with 7:04 left in the third period Monday to give the Calgary Flames their third straight victory, 3-2 over the Chicago Blackhawks. McCarty raced into the Blackhawks zone and beat defenseman Jassen Cullimore to a loose puck behind the net.

Sillinger powers Blues past Canucks (AP)
The St. Louis Blues finally got off to a strong start at home. The Blues scored three times in the first period Monday night and beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Mike Sillinger, who had two goals and assist for the Blues, said this was the way things used to go all the time at the Savvis Center. "It's about time we come out in our own building and put a team away in the first period," Sillinger said.

Avalanche F May out at least four weeks (AP)
Colorado Avalanche forward Brad May will miss four to five weeks because of a sprained knee. May was hurt in the second period of Colorado's 5-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night. He has two goals, two assists and 59 penalty minutes in 34 games. The Avalanche called up forward Frantisek Skladany from Lowell of the AHL.

Isles G DiPietro out with knee injury (AP)
Rick DiPietro's injured left knee kept him out of the New York Islanders' game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night. The U.S. Olympic goalie sprained his knee Friday in New York's 4-3 loss at Ottawa when he fell to the ice during a scramble in the first period. He is day-to-day. Garth Snow made his 11th appearance of the season, and Wade Dubielewicz -- recalled earlier in the day from...

Kings RW Parros placed on injured list (AP)
The Los Angeles Kings placed right wing George Parros on the injured list Monday due to a sprained ankle. Parros, 26, was injured during a 5-3 win at Colorado last Wednesday. He had one goal, three assists and 56 penalty minutes in 33 games this season. The Kings recalled left wing Noah Clarke from Manchester of the AHL.

Offseason capsules: Said, Bliss, Wimmer, Kvapil
Yahoo! Sports breaks down the '06 Cup field as the season-opening Daytona 500 approaches.

NASCAR drivers in a unique challenge -- piloting a bobsled (AP)
When NASCAR ace Ken Schrader was a kid, his father decided to make him a race car driver. Nearly a half-century later, Schrader will be in a bobsled to raise money for the Olympic-bound U.S. men's and women's teams. Schrader's father took an old truck axle, imbedded it vertically in concrete and strung a cable to little Kenny's go-kart.

Schlesser wins in Dar Rally; Roma takes points lead (AP)
Jean-Louis Schlesser of France won the third stage of the Dakar Rally, and Nani Roma of Spain took the overall lead Monday as the race entered Africa. Two-time winner Schlesser, driving a Ford-powered vehicle, was timed in 2 hours, 50 minutes, 58 seconds over 195 miles from Nador to Er Rachidia. Hiroshi Masuoka of Japan was second, 19 seconds behind.

Auto Racing 2005: Stewart grows up amid youth movement (SportsTicker)
MOORESVILLE, North Carolina (Ticker) - In a season where youth was not only served it was showcased, Tony Stewart topped the auto racing headlines by simply growing up.

NASCAR to restructure regional tours in 2007 (SportsTicker)
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Ticker) - NASCAR announced Wednesday that it will restructure its regional touring series divisions beginning in 2007.

Legge completes Champ Car test (AP)
Katherine Legge spent two days this week testing a Champ Car to see if she's ready to become the first female driver in the open-wheel series. The 25-year-old Legge ran a total of 238 laps for PKV Racing on the road course in Sebring, Fla. It was just the second time in a Champ car for the British racer, who ran 70 laps at Sebring in a test for Rocketsports Racing on Dec.

Kyle Busch to run full season in NASCAR Busch Series in 2006 (SportsTicker)
CONCORD, North Carolina (Ticker) - Despite making a splash in his first season on NASCAR's premier series, Kyle Busch has some unfinished business in the Busch Series.

Judge: Speedway lawsuit against NASCAR will stay in Kentucky (AP)
A federal judge has ruled that Kentucky Speedway's $400 million antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR will be heard in Kentucky and not moved to a Florida court.

Talladega Superspeedway to get first repaving since 1979 (AP)
Talladega Superspeedway will be repaved next year, the first time since 1979, and several drivers say they're looking forward to a smoother ride.

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