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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Henry Josey broke loose for the go-ahead score on a 57-yard run with 3:34 to go and No. 5 Missouri wrapped up the SEC East, riding a strong second half to a 28-21 victory over No. 19 Texas A&M on Saturday night.

Missouri (11-1, 7-1 SEC) advances to the conference championship game against Auburn — a matchup of schools very lightly regarded before the season. Missouri has made a six-win improvement from its initial SEC season and fourth-ranked Auburn (11-1, 7-1) has topped last year's total by eight after stunning No. 1 Alabama.

Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel was held in check for the second straight week, throwing one touchdown pass and rushing for 21 yards on 11 carries. He was 24 for 35 for 195 yards.

Thousands of fans among a sellout crowd of 62,197 — nearly all of them clad in black, stormed the field after the game ended. The field wasn't cleared for at least 20 minutes.

Missouri had been 11-44 under Pinkel when trailing at the half. Pinkel has 101 wins in 13 seasons at Missouri, tied for Don Faurot for most in school history.

Texas A&M has one of the worst defenses against the run in the nation, allowing 221 yards per game. Until Josey's breakaway run, the Aggies had done a nice job.

Starting from its 34, Josey carried for 4 yards and quarterback James Franklin ran for 5 yards. Josey busted free up the middle on third-and-1.

Texas A&M never threatened the rest of the game.

Tra Carson broke two tackles on a 31-yard scoring run that was also the first touchdown allowed by Missouri in the first quarter in six games. Derel Walker's 32-yard reception made it 14-7 late in the half.

Walker's score came just 1:10 after Franklin's 38-yard touchdown pass to L'Damian Washington. Manziel rolled out to buy time and Michael Sam tackled him a beat too late.

Early in the second quarter, Missouri failed to capitalize on a lost fumble by punt returner De'Vante Harris at the A&M 36. Backup Maty Mauk got his usual early series at quarterback and Missouri lost a yard on three plays before punting.

Saturday, 30 November 2013 23:07
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — LSU set the template for No. 5 Missouri. Keep Johnny Manziel in the middle of the field, and the Heisman Trophy winner can be contained.

Coach Gary Pinkel knows that's easier said than done.

"I don't know if you ever truly stop him," Pinkel said. "Everybody will say, 'Do exactly what LSU did.' I don't think every team and every player is perfect all the time."

Manziel came close last year against the Tigers, throwing for three touchdowns and running for two more scores to help the Aggies run up a 42-7 halftime lead in a 59-29 blowout.

Texas A&M (8-3, 4-3 SEC) dropped 10 spots to 19th in the poll after getting manhandled on the road in a 34-10 loss last week. Manziel was held to one touchdown pass and intercepted twice, and for the first time in his career he fell short of 50 percent completion.

LSU's ends stayed wide to neutralize Manziel's improvisational skills, with great success. Sure, that gives the Tigers some confidence.

"I mean yes, I guess you could say that," senior defensive back E.J. Gaines said. "But it doesn't happen very often."

Watch for Missouri (10-1, 6-1) to at least give it a try.

"We're certainly going to be tested with this guy," Pinkel said. "He's a better plays than he was a year ago."

There's a lot riding on this one for the Tigers. Win, and they take the SEC East and advance to the conference championship Dec. 7 in Atlanta. Lose, and South Carolina gets the nod based on its overtime victory at Missouri.

Texas A&M seeks to right the ship and improve its bowl position amid intrigue. Manziel could announce soon whether he'll return for his junior season or enter the NFL draft.

Five things to look for in Texas A&M-Missouri:

GROUND GAME: Missouri running back Henry Josey is all the way back from a left knee injury so serious Pinkel had doubts he'd be 100 percent again, saying "it was more like a car wreck than an athletic injury." Josey had two of the Tigers' three scores last week, his second straight two-TD game, and he's closing in on 1,000 yards. The senior missed the end of the 2011 season and all of 2012. "I think he's playing as good or better than he has ever played," Pinkel said. "It's great to see it. He's untouchable — do not say a bad word about Josey."

STINGY DEFENSE: Texas A&M's offense leads the SEC with a 45.7-point average but is coming off a dud. Missouri is second in the league allowing just 19 points, and is coming off a superior effort in a 24-10 victory at Ole Miss. The Rebels had been averaging 34.5 points but mustered just one field goal in three trips inside the 20, and twice came up empty after having first-and-goal.

BOUNCING BACK: Before last week, the Aggies hadn't lost by double digits. They had the ball for less than 20 minutes at LSU. They've got to get over it. "I drive through here at a gas station and it's like the sky is falling," coach Kevin Sumlin said. "We're playing a real season with real opponents and real games. Are we where we want to be right now? No. But that doesn't mean the sky is falling. We're going into another game as an underdog and the difference is people expect us to win. That's a completely different attitude than when I first got here."

SENIOR NIGHT: The home finale always is an emotional experience for Pinkel, who lets the tears flow and hugs everyone during the pre-game ceremony. Players know they'll have to change gears quickly, and put the game face back on, after getting their name announced before a sellout crowd and then getting greeted by family. "I know my mom will cry, my dad will probably too, and i'll have my daughter out there," offensive tackle Justin Britt said. "To be determined. I've seen some great players who had great careers here, and they didn't cry."

BIG TARGET: Six-foot-5 receiver Mike Evans has become a favorite target of Manziel. Evans is second in the nation with 1,314 yards receiving and is a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award. He is the only SEC receiver with two games with more than 225 yards receiving. His 279 yards receiving against Alabama broke a school record that had stood since 1965. Evans leads the nation in catches of 30 yards or longer with 17 and his 12 touchdown receptions lead the SEC and are fourth in the nation.

Saturday, 30 November 2013 00:20
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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Missouri may not be playing under the national radar for much longer.

Earnest Ross scored 28 points, Jabari Brown had 24 and the Tigers remained unbeaten with an 83-70 win over Nevada in the final round of the Las Vegas Invitational on Friday night.

Jordan Clarkson added 21 points for the Tigers (7-0), who converted 31 of 33 free throws.

"When you have those three guys playing the way they did tonight, we are going to be hard to beat," said coach Frank Haith, who returned from a five-game suspension to get wins on consecutive days at the tournament. "When you have three guys that are going to go and get you 25 points — that's a luxury."

Ross made 12 of 13 free throws and grabbed nine rebounds. Brown made four 3-pointers for Missouri, which finished 4-0 in the round-robin tournament and is likely to receive votes in this week's Associated Press poll.

Missouri will at least be tournament co-champion with No. 19 UCLA, which was 3-0 going into Friday's last game against Northwestern. The Tigers defeated Northwestern in third round on Thursday.

"We executed so well in the first half, we took good shots," Haith said. "We got to the free-throw line and we were moving the ball. In the second half, we took some quick shots. (Nevada) got into transition and they got a little rhythm and that's just the way college basketball is. Once (Nevada) cut the lead to five, we made big plays."

Haith's suspension stemmed from his tenure at Miami, where the NCAA ruled he didn't monitor assistant coaches' actions with a booster.

Deonte Burton led Nevada (3-5) with 20 points and three blocks. He was 8 of 10 from the free-throw line. Marqueze Coleman had 15 points for the Wolf Pack, which ended the tourney 1-3.

Nevada cut the Tigers' 21-point first-half lead to five with six minutes left in the game, but Missouri went on a 16-8 run to pull away.

"We just have to play harder, we just can't let up in the second half like we did," Clarkson said. "(In the second half) they were getting a lot of open shots, and once we started communicating, I felt like we shut them down."

Missouri finished at 47 percent from the field, while the Wolf Pack was at 35.

"When you miss shots, and get a team like that in transition, I think that's what built the lead," Nevada coach David Carter said. "I thought we were able to make some baskets, and crawl back into it."

The tournament's championship format was changed to round-robin this year to accommodate the Tigers and Bruins, who have a game scheduled for Dec. 7 at Missouri and didn't want to play twice this season.

Missouri came out aggressive early against the Wolf Pack, taking an 11-2 lead and going up by as many as 21 points late in the first half. Brown and Ross each had 16 points in the half. Missouri shot 52 percent from the field and made 13 of 14 free throws to lead 44-26 at the break.

Missouri hosts West Virginia on Thursday before UCLA comes to Columbia.

"I fully expect (Missouri) to be in the NCAA tournament," Coleman said. "We knew how fast and how strong they were. Their speed and height was tough. They got to us in the first half. In the second half, we made some adjustments and got the lead down to five, they hit a couple of baskets and took care of us."

Saturday, 30 November 2013 00:18
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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Brent Burns got his first NHL hat trick and the Sharks ended a five-game home losing streak to St. Louis with a 6-3 victory over the Blues on Friday.

Joe Thornton, Tomas Hertl and Tommy Wingels also scored for the Sharks, who won their fourth straight and seven of eight.

Ian Cole scored his first goal in nearly two years as the Blues had their five-game winning streak halted. David Backes and Jaden Schwartz also scored for St. Louis.

Antti Niemi stopped 21 of 24 shots for his 14th win of the season. Brian Elliott took the loss, his first in eight games, after giving up four goals on 12 shots. He was lifted for Jaroslav Halak, who had 18 saves.

The Blues, who earned points in their previous nine games, were off to their best road start in franchise history, bringing a 7-2-1 mark into the game.

Burns scored 35 seconds into the game, taking a nice pass from Patrick Marleau and flipping the puck over Elliott's right shoulder. Logan Couture, who has not scored a goal in seven straight, started the sequence after intercepting a clearing pass.

Thornton scored a power-play goal at 3:01, the first allowed by the Blues in six games and just the second on the road. Couture took a shot that bounced off Elliott's pad and Joe Pavelski flipped it out to Thornton, who beat Elliott to the glove side.

Burns scored his second goal of the game at 9:14 of the first, set up with a pass from Thornton.

Wingels picked up a flubbed pass to Jay Bouwmeester and had a give-and-go with Couture to make it 4-0, getting a good rebound off Elliott's glove and into the net at 11:27.

Cole, who last scored on Dec. 8, 2011, against the Anaheim Ducks, a span of 43 games, rattled the puck off the right post and had it trickle into the net.

The scoring sequence began when Halak made a terrific save and got the puck out to a streaking Roman Polak.

Backes, who took a 10-minute misconduct late in the second period, made it 4-2 with a power-play goal at 2:02 of the third period, with Derek Roy giving him a backhand pass to set up the score.

Schwartz drilled the puck off Niemi's glove on a give-and-go with Vladimir Sobotka to bring the Blues within one midway at 11:19 of the final period.

Burns got the hat trick when he converted a power-play goal at 12:19. He sneaked it past Halak on the stick side.

Hertl added an empty-net goal in the final minute.

NOTES: Thornton has 17 points in his past 15 games. ... The Blues allowed a third-period goal for the first time in eight games. Their 14 third-period goals allowed is the third fewest. ... Roy has points in five of six games. ... The Sharks scored their first power-play goal since Nov. 15, a span of seven games. ... Couture has not scored a goal in a season-long seven games and has one goal in his past 11.

Saturday, 30 November 2013 00:17
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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Missouri's biggest concern heading to the Las Vegas Invitational was how to establish a frontcourt presence.

Coach Frank Haith said he got what he was looking for Thursday night, particularly from Johnathan Williams and Ryan Rosburg, two of four Tigers to score in double figures in a 78-67 win over Northwestern in the tournament's opening round.

Jordan Clarkson scored 13 of his 21 points in the second half to lead Missouri, while Williams and Rosburg each had 14.

"We've relied on only (Clarkson and Jabari Brown) early this season, and we needed to get production out of our post guys," Haith said. "That was the first step toward that tonight, with Ryan and J3 (Williams) getting in double figures. Both those guys having the kind of night they had, I think that's important for us as we move forward."

The Tigers, who outscored Northwestern in the paint 40-14, scored the first 14 points of the second half to erase a five-point halftime deficit and take a 48-39 lead at the 15:10 mark and never looked back.

After Northwestern's second-half drought was ended by JerShon Cobb, who scored a game-high 22 points, the Tigers extended their lead to 13, when Brown hit a 3-pointer to give them a 54-41 advantage. The 6-foot-5 junior guard wasn't finished, as he scored five of his team's next 10 points and dished a nifty backward pass to Clarkson, who finished with a one-handed slam dunk that exemplified the Tigers' transition game.

"That's the way we play, we like to get up and down and play in transition," Clarkson said. "In the second half we tightened things up and pressured the ball. And that helped us get out into the transition game. We want to stamp our identity on the defensive end, playing hard. If we play hard on defense, we're going to get those easy shots, those easy dunks. And that's how we play, that's where we're most comfortable."

Said Haith: "I think that's when our team is at its best. That's one of our strengths. We play well in transition. But you ... gotta play defense in order for that to happen. I thought that keyed our ability to get transition buckets."

Missouri (6-0), which went from shooting 0-for-7 from the 3-point line in the first 20 minutes to shooting 4-of-7 in the second half, held Northwestern to just 36.4 percent shooting in the second half, compared with the Wildcats' 50 percent shooting from the field in the first half.

There were six ties and six lead changes in the first half, and the Wildcats connected on 6 of 13 jumpers from 3-point range. Cobb led the charge early, shooting 4 for 6 from the field (3-of-5 from 3-point range) en route to 16 points in the first half. After falling behind 19-13 midway through the first half, Northwestern went on a 26-15 run to take a 39-34 halftime lead.

But it was Missouri's defensive intensity in the second half that thwarted every effort by Northwestern, which missed its first six shots after halftime.

"The more stops we got, we were getting more confident," Haith said. "We had better movement in the second half. Once we were able to do that, we were able to attack, we had better ball movement from side to side, (and) I thought we did a great job of that.

"And we attacked in the paint. When teams sag like that, and we were still able to get those points in the paint, that's good and that's what we gotta do."

Tre Demps and Nathan Taphorn each scored 11 for Northwestern (4-3).

Missouri, which won by double digits for the fifth time this season, is now 13-4 on a neutral court under Haith. Since 2011, the Tigers are 17-1 in the month of November, and dating back to 2006 have won 44 of their 50 games in the month.

The Tigers, who played on Thanksgiving Day for the second consecutive year, face Nevada on Friday, while Northwestern (4-3) will play No. 19 UCLA.

Friday, 29 November 2013 10:30
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DENVER (AP) -- Jaroslav Halak made 24 saves, David Backes had a goal and an assist and the streaking St. Louis Blues beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 on Wednesday night.

Alexander Steen scored his 20th of the season and Jaden Schwartz also had a goal for the Blues, who have won five straight.

Semyon Varlamov stopped 31 shots and Patrick Bordeleau scored for the Avalanche, who had won three straight.

Colorado's 17-5-0 start was a franchise best this deep into the season, but the Blues have been the better team lately. They have won 10 of 12 and earned points in 11 of those games.

One of their wins in that stretch was a 7-3 victory over Colorado on Nov. 14, which was in the middle of a three-game skid for the Avalanche.

The Blues dominated that game from the start of the second period, and that continued Wednesday.

The Blues had the first seven shots, and goals by Backes and Steen in the first 6:10 of the game gave them a quick two-goal lead. Backes scored when he redirected T.J. Oshie's pass on a rush 2:46 into the first period. Steen made it 2-0 with a power-play goal, which tied him with Washington's Alex Ovechkin for the most goals in the NHL this season.

After being outshot 9-1 to that point, Colorado pushed back and got on the board when Bordeleau stuffed in a rebound midway through the first. The Avalanche had several chances to tie it, but Schwartz's short-handed goal with 1:48 left in the period made it 3-1 and stopped Colorado's momentum.

The Avalanche failed to mount a comeback in the final two periods. They were held to 14 shots in the last 40 minutes, with four coming in the final 5 minutes of the game. They had two on a power play and two more after pulling Varlamov for an extra skater, but former teammate Chris Stewart sealed it with an empty-net goal with 1:44 left.

NOTES: Blues C Derek Roy had two assists. ... Avalanche C Paul Stastny missed the game due to back spasms. ... Steen has 99 goals as a member of the Blues. ... St. Louis' short-handed goal was its first of the season. It also was the first short-handed goal allowed by Colorado this season.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013 22:54
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Jabari Brown scored a career-high 24 points and Jordan Clarkson added 22 to help Missouri defeat IUPUI 78-64 on Monday night.

The Tigers finished 5-0 under coach Tim Fuller, who filled in for Frank Haith as the head coach served an NCAA-mandated suspension. Haith will return to the bench for the team's Thanksgiving matchup against Northwestern in Las Vegas.

Missouri (5-0) scored 13 of the game's first 17 points and never trailed en route to winning its 22nd consecutive contest at home and its 77th in a row against nonconference opponents at Mizzou Arena.

Missouri's lone returning starter from a 23-11 season, Brown shot 7-of-12 from the field and 5-of-8 from behind the arc. The junior guard joined the Tigers for the second half of last year after transferring from Oregon, where he only played two games.

Ja'Rob McCallum scored 14 points and Ian Chiles added 12 for IUPUI (1-5), which shot 50 percent from the field in the first half but only 39.4 percent in the second.

Missouri made 50.9 percent of its shots and took a 47-34 halftime lead, but IUPUI hung around, narrowing its deficit to 70-61 with 6:39 left on a jumper from Chiles. Missouri's Clarkson then scored the game's next five points to give the Tigers a 14-point lead with 4:13 remaining.

IUPUI's Chiles averaged 19.2 points per game entering the night to lead the Summit League, but his 12 points were his second-lowest output of the season. McCallum and Justus Stanback combined for 25 points off the Jaguars' bench, which outscored its counterpart 25-9 for the game after failing to register a point in both of IUPUI's last two games.

Picked to finish last in the eight-team Summit League after a 6-26 campaign a year ago, IUPUI lost 63-61 to Northwestern on a last-second shot Friday and — with the loss tonight — fell to 0-6 against teams from the Southeastern Conference.

A season-low attendance of 6,065 watched Missouri shoot 8-of-19 from 3-point range after only making two of 14 attempts against Gardner-Webb on Saturday. The Tigers' campus is on Thanksgiving break.

The game marked the second contest for both teams in the Las Vegas Invitational, but it had no impact on the outcome of the tournament. The schools will travel to Nevada for games on Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013 00:24
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Cardinals factored in Jhonny Peralta's drug suspension when they negotiated a $53 million, four-year contract with the free agent shortstop.

General manager John Mozeliak said Monday that Peralta had admitted wrongdoing and served his penalty, and that the Cardinals weren't about to appoint themselves "morality police."

"Character and makeup are something we weigh into our decision-making," Mozeliak said. "In his case, he admitted what he did, he took responsibility for it. I feel like he has paid for his mistakes, and obviously if he were to make another one, then it would be a huge disappointment."

Mozeliak agreed with critics that penalties aren't strict enough.

"You do need a deterrent, and right now 50 games does not seem to be necessarily stopping it," Mozeliak said.

But he also believed attitudes have changed.

"I think Major League Baseball has done a great job trying to clean up this game, and I feel like they've taken great steps," the GM said.

While he used the phrase "morale police" during his availability earlier in the day, Mozeliak said he meant to say "morality." He also said the club was confident this was an isolated circumstance.

The 31-year-old Peralta was suspended for 50 games last summer following MLB's investigation of the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic, which was accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs. He underwent a physical on Sunday in St. Louis but did not attend the introductory news conference.

Peralta gets $15.5 million next year, $15 million in 2015, $12.5 million in 2016 and $10 million in 2017. He had a $6 million salary season, when he lost $1,639,344 in withheld salary during the suspension.

St. Louis also explored a trade but wasn't willing to part with several prospects. Mozeliak said negotiations went quickly after groundwork was laid at the GM meetings.

Peralta and Stephen Drew were the best two shortstops in free agency. Peralta was a plus for the Cardinals because they've got a lot of left-handed hitters and he bats right-handed.

Mozeliak said rookie Pete Kozma, the starter last year who could end up back in the minors next season, was a better defensive shortstop than Peralta. The Cardinals prized Peralta, an All-Star two of the last three seasons, for his bat.

Peralta batted .303 with 11 homers and 55 RBIs in 107 games last year and four times has hit 20 or more homers. Kozma hit .217 with one homer and 35 RBIs.

Mozeliak said he'd be satisfied if the Cardinals stood pat the rest of the offseason but added the team will still be listening to offers. St. Louis filled its other need last week by trading third baseman David Freese to the Angels for center fielder Peter Bourgos.

Coming off a second World Series in three seasons, the Cardinals are loaded with young pitching and the lineup is set.

Matt Carpenter is set to move from second base to third base next season to make room for rookie Kolten Wong, a first-round draft pick in 2011. Matt Adams will start at first base with Allen Craig moving to right field.

The Cardinals don't anticipate Carlos Beltran, the right fielder last year, will take a one-year qualifying offer.

"There's still some things we can look at, there's still opportunities over the next 6-7 weeks as we progress into the winter meetings, but if the clock stopped today we'd be pretty happy with our club."

Tuesday, 26 November 2013 00:14
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Alexander Steen scored twice, and Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 3-0 win over the Minnesota Wild on Monday.

Steen has 19 goals this season, one behind Washington's Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead.

Vladimir Sobotka also scored for the Blues, who are 9-1-1 in their last 11 and 12-2-1 in the last 15. They have won six straight against Minnesota by a combined 20-7.

The Wild were shut out for the first time this season and lost only their second game in the last eight. Minnesota (15-6-4) is still off to its best start with 34 points in its first 25 games.

Halak improved to 13-3-2 with his third successive win. He robbed Zenon Konopka from close range late in the second period and earned his second shutout of the season and 27th of his NHL career.

Steen pounced on the rebound of Jay Bouwmeester's shot midway through the first period to give the Blues a 2-0 lead. Steen added an empty-net goal with 1:22 left.

Sobotka scored just 1:20 into the game off a rebound of a shot by Carlo Colaiacovo. Sobotka also scored the first goal 1:39 into a 6-1 win over Dallas on Saturday.

Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom, who started in place of Josh Harding, fell to 2-2-2. Harding is day-to-day with a groin injury.

St. Louis has a franchise record 37 points through its first 23 games.

 

NOTES: St. Louis D Kevin Shattenkirk missed the game because of the flu. ... Minnesota LW Mike Rupp made his season debut after missing 24 games due to offseason knee surgery. ... This was the first of five meetings between the new Central Division rivals. ... The Blues lead the NHL with a plus-32 goal differential. ... St. Louis LW Ryan Reaves underwent surgery Monday for a broken bone in his right hand. Reaves, who leads the team with 69 hits, is expected to miss at least six weeks. ... Minnesota has failed to score on its last 11 power plays against the Blues.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013 00:10
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Northern Illinois moved ahead of Fresno State in the BCS standings and up to No. 14 as the Huskies and Bulldogs jockey to be the last BCS buster.

NIU jumped two spots Sunday and Fresno State slipped one to 16th.

The top three teams in the BCS standings were unchanged: Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State - the remaining undefeated teams in BCS automatic qualifying conferences.

The other major college unbeatens, Northern Illinois and Fresno State, are fighting for one automatic bid. They have to finish in the top 12 of the last BCS standings, which comes out Dec. 8, or finish in the top 16 while ranking ahead of an AQ-conference champion.

Central Florida is in position to win the American Athletic Conference auto-bid, but is 19th in the latest standings.

Northern Illinois reached the BCS last season by being ranked ahead of the champion of the Big East. The Huskies then lost to Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

Jordan Lynch and Northern Illinois overtook Derek Carr and Fresno State this week on the strength of better computer ratings. NIU is seventh in the computer ratings, while coming in 17th in the Harris poll and 20th in the USA Today coaches' poll. Fresno State is 13th in each poll, but 17th in the computers.

Jerry Palm, who analyzes the BCS for CBS.com, said he was surprised Northern Illinois made such a big move after winning at Mid-American Conference rival Toledo last week. Fresno State stayed unbeaten with a win against Mountain West Conference foe New Mexico. Neither team has played a strong schedule, Palm said.

"What baffles me is we have such a disparity in the computers between two teams that we're splitting hairs over," he said. "That's a head scratcher."

Palm said NIU's lead could be temporary as Fresno State plays tougher opponents the rest of the way.

NIU plays at home against Western Michigan (1-10) on Tuesday and then faces either Buffalo or Bowling Green in the MAC championship game. Fresno State plays at San Jose State (5-5) on Friday and then either Utah State or Boise State in the Mountain West championship.

The Bowl Championship Series is done after this season. The four-team College Football Playoff replaces it next year.

The Crimson Tide and Seminoles are still on course to meet in the final BCS championship game if they can stay unbeaten. Ohio State is on deck if either of the top two slip up.

The Buckeyes were in danger of being passed by Baylor, but Oklahoma State took care of that by blasting the Bears 49-17 on Saturday night.

Auburn (fourth) and Missouri (fifth) are behind the Buckeyes and could make an interesting case for being in title game if they can win out and become SEC champions with just one loss. But the Buckeyes (.9200 BCS average) have a good-sized lead on both the Auburn Tigers (.8326) and Missouri Tigers (.8077).

Ohio State is third in each poll, followed by Clemson. Auburn is fifth and Missouri is sixth. The Buckeyes are also third in the computer ratings.

"They're not going to pass Ohio State," Palm said of Auburn and Missouri. "The coaches in particular are not going to allow an undefeated to not play for the title. They understand how hard it is to finish unbeaten. It hasn't happened yet in the BCS and there is no reason to think it would this year."

Alabama (11-0) plays Auburn on Saturday, with the winner advancing to the Southeastern Conference championship game as the SEC West winner. Missouri or South Carolina will represent the East, depending on whether the Tigers beat Texas A&M at home.

Florida State (11-0) plays struggling rival Florida at home Saturday and then moves on to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game, where Duke, Virginia Tech, Miami or Georgia Tech will be the opponent.

Ohio State (11-0) finishes its regular season against rival Michigan at the Big House on Saturday, and then plays Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game. The Buckeyes have won a school-record 23 straight games. If they remain unbeaten the worst they can do is a trip to the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 2009 season.

Sunday, 24 November 2013 23:55
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Cards pitching shuts down Brewers again 6-1

Cards pitching shuts down Brewers again 6-1

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Shelby Miller struck out seven and allowed three hits over six innings, and Mark Ellis had two RBIs in his return from the disabled list to lead the St. Louis ...

Lynn, Cardinals snap Brewers' 9-game win streak

Lynn, Cardinals snap Brewers' 9-game win streak

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee Brewers' nine-game winning streak was snapped Monday night when Lance Lynn struck out 11 in seven innings and Jon Jay hit a three-run homer for t...

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