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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Seattle Lands a Women's Lingerie Football Team

Lingerie.jpg

An offshoot of the uber-popular Lingerie Bowl halftime show that's appeared during Super Bowls past, there's now a fledgling league of extraordinary women who will play tackle football against one another in their underwear. Tryouts for the Seattle team, the Mist, are this Friday at Greenlake, although official league play won't start for another year and games will be played indoors, ala arena football. Fully-clothed details after the jump. It'll be really interesting to see how this goes over in Seattle.

Horizon Productions requests your coverage of the Lingerie Football League’s (LFL) Seattle Mist mini-camp try-out on Friday, October 3rd at Greenlake Field. The Super Bowl halftime special called ‘Lingerie Bowl’ has become one of television’s most watched properties and apart of Super Bowl Sunday festivities for millions worldwide.

Due to the overall viewership/commercial success’ of the past Lingerie Bowls, a new professional football league has formed called the Lingerie Football League (LFL) with 10 franchises across the country which include Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, New England, Atlanta, Miami and Tampa.

Seattle will be home to the LFL’s Seattle Mist which will comprise of Seattle’s most attractive and athletic women. We will meet with hundreds of Seattle based women during Friday’s mini-camp and test the ladies through a series of football drills.

The Lingerie Football League will be a full-contact tackle football league, for more details please logo onto www.LFLUS.com

WHAT – LINGERIE FOOTBALL LEAGUE, SEATTLE MIST MINI-CAMP TRYOUT

WHO – Seattle women competing for one of the coveted (12) spots on the Seattle Mist

WHERE – Greenlake Field
7201 East Greenlake Dr North
Seattle, WA

WHEN – Friday, October 3, 2008

TIME – 10AM - Registration
11AM - Start Time

Original here

TEN most hated people in Football: Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle take note!

by Mr Comfort

Everyone who loves the game has a certain amount of revulsion for some within it, and here is a top ten list of those who get more than their fair share of hate mail!

TEN) Robbie Savage
No list of this kind would be complete without a mention of Mr Savage! Yes he may be slipping down the football pyramid, but the long-haired caution-loving midfielder is truly reviled by everyone who has ever had the fortune of being within booing distance!

NINE) Sir Alex Ferguson/Arsene Wenger
The first of a few on this list who have undoubted talent, but just seem to rub people up the wrong way. The gruff Scot is of course loved by his own supporters, but he is hated by just about everyone else. The way he manages to see everything that goes against his side but ignores everything his opponents fail to receive from officials is always amusing.

Even this weekend when he admitted Bolton were very unlucky to have a penalty decision go against them, he still managed to suggest that United also get their fair share of bad decisions, which is of course not very accurate. Ferguson shares this place with Arsene Wenger, whose myopic view of decisions by the referee has almost become a parody. When questioned by a post-match reporter about something that went against his side’s opposition, he always manages to have not seen the said incident. Let’s face it, both managers are equally disliked by fans but they are both considered by all fair-minded football fans to be among the best managers of all time.

EIGHT) Marco Materazzi
This unskilled defender brought a horrible end to a fantastic career when he decided to verbally attack Zinedine Zidane. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with abusing a fellow player, it happens every week but it just seems so horribly inappropriate for the lanky centre-back to even deem himself worthy of talking to the great Frenchman, let alone insulting his family. History will thankfully remember the former Real Madrid man far more fondly than the one-time Everton player.

SEVEN) Kia Joorabchian
This guy is not only symptomatic of the damage that agents have done to the game, he is in fact nothing more than a parasite. Kia has damaged many with his money-grabbing actions and the way he seems to own the likes of Carlos Tevez can surely not be healthy for football. Suspected of money laundering in Brazil during his reign at Corinthians, he has since found his way to the Premier League and is still reportedly paid an exorbitant fee by West Ham as a ‘transfer adviser’.

SIX) Sepp Blatter
The Swiss head of FIFA is quite simply crazy! His hair-brained schemes may well be amusing but given the man’s power, it is very worrying that he has his hands on football’s ‘red’ button. This is the man who brought us the golden goal and boy was that a mistake. He has commented on the issue of women’s football that they should “wear tighter shorts” and most recently sparked controversy by claiming that Cristiano Ronaldo (yes he appears on this list as well) is a slave, a comment that is so clearly offensive and inaccurate on so many levels it’s frightening! Oh yes and he also endorsed the idea of booking players who remove their shirts, which is just pointless!

FIVE) Ashley Cole
Cashley Cole was an Arsenal hero up until around January 2005 when he just happened to find himself in the same hotel lobby as Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon and Jose Mourinho, what a coincidence! However, the hatred towards a player so clearly trying to engineer a move only increased when he tried to avoid blame and accused Arsenal of making him a scapegoat over the whole affair, as though they had driven him to leave the club. Since this incident, he has become a figure of irritation for many other sets of fans and his arrogant character was again called into question when he acted with such disrespect to official Mike Riley. The latter had the audacity of wanting to book the full-back for an awful high tackle on Alan Hutton! Oh yes and apparently he was sickened by the audacity of the north London club to only offer him £55k a week, and yes my heart really felt for him as no doubt it did for all of you.

FOUR) Diego Maradona
What a great player but also damn infuriating. Whether it’s the way he has basically killed his body with a lethal concoction of junk food and various drug addictions, or the way he cheated England out of the 1986 World Cup and the way he was sent home from the 1994 World Cup in shame, it does seem that Argentinean has been hell-bent on leaving football fans with a negative image of such a talented individual. Thankfully, he appears to be on the mend but the hatred is still there!

THREE) Mike Ashley
A recent addition to this list, but well worthy of consideration as the current Newcastle owner has managed to enrage the club’s loyal support with his somewhat mindless decision making. Ashley essentially forced Kevin Keegan out of the door and has caused the club to rapidly fall down the table and, unless the billionaire leaves the club, they could well find themselves in a relegation dogfight which considering the size of the club is simply outrageous. The fans of the club deserve so much better than the chairman they have been lumbered with.

TWO) Cristiano Ronaldo
Yes he is probably the best player on the planet but the preening primadonna sure does have some haters out there! He managed to turn his own fans against him this summer by trying (not very subtly) to orchestrate a move to Real Madrid, luckily for him Man United supporters have decided to not boo him for that. Whilst his diving antics have been dramatically reduced, he has decided to increase his petulant behaviour every time he is in some way obstructed to simply turn away and show his disgust with a huge shrug (rather than attempt to win the ball back). Like I said, he is a truly wonderful footballer so his attitude needn’t be so poor. All he needs to do is show those who try to kick him off the ball how to play the game. He should also remember that the club and his manager stood by him after the ‘winking’ incident in the 2006 World Cup. Sir Alex was totally correct to make him stay at the club and the Portuguese international is lucky that the United fans have decided to let him off lightly.

ONE) Joey Barton
Being a convicted criminal doesn’t endear you to many and it’s more the consistency of this guy’s anti-social/ thug-like behaviour that irks so many. I mean one drunken incident would be considered a mistake, but Barton seems to have made disruptive violent acts his sole aim in life. I for one was fooled when a couple of years ago or so ago, he conducted an interview on the BBC and appeared to have a brain in his head, looking genuinely apologetic and about to turn over a new leaf. However, since that incident, he has of course continued to go off the rails with alarming regularity and quite frankly doesn’t deserve the loyalty the likes of Kevin Keegan have shown him. He is in my view currently the most hated person in football right now, and it would take a hell of a lot for him to encourage people to change their view of the midfielder.

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Report: Freedom of bye week tempted Williams to use pot

MIAMI -- Ricky Williams says he was briefly tempted to smoke marijuana during the Miami Dolphins' bye weekend, an act that could have ended his roller-coaster NFL career.

Williams has been in the league's substance-abuse program since 2002 and has tested positive for marijuana.

Ricky Williams

Williams

Williams told The Miami Herald for Tuesday's editions that when players were given Friday off, "Automatically your mind, which is so constrained since training camp began ... says, 'I'm free, what can I do?' "

"So there was definitely an urge," he said. "But I just thought about what I have to lose, and it was easy. The urge didn't last very long."

Since 2004, the Dolphins running back has played only 16 NFL games, including three this year. If Williams were to smoke marijuana again, he would likely be out of the NFL for good because he already has violated the league drug policy four times.

"There's no space, no wiggle room for me," Williams said.

He said that doesn't scare him, because he feels he's in control and on the right path. He said he successfully fought off the latest urge to smoke by meditating instead, which gives him the same "feeling of being free" as marijuana.

"A lot of times when people have some kind of addiction, what happens is they make a mistake and trip up and afterward say, 'I don't know what I was thinking,' " he said. "If you always try to be aware of what is going on in your mind, you won't ever get to that point where it's too late."

The 1998 Heisman Trophy winner and 2002 NFL rushing champion said it's normal to have an urge to smoke. Williams is tested nine times per month on a random basis. The man who administers the urinalysis for the NFL sometimes shows up at Williams' home before dawn.

Williams said he will not smoke marijuana again while he's in the NFL, but he's uncertain whether he'll abstain when his career ends.

"I'd be lying if I said I'm never going to do it again after I'm done," he said. "I don't know. I don't spend much time thinking about it."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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Cubs bidders face credit squeeze

By: Ann Saphir

Wall Street's meltdown threatens Tribune Co. CEO Sam Zell's plan to get top dollar for the Cubs — and he's prepared to delay the sale in response.

Mr. Zell has urged bidders to finance the purchase with debt, which would cut his tax bill on the sale. But buyout loans have become more expensive and harder to come by as credit markets contract, potentially limiting any price offered for the team.

"It's costlier to borrow money, and the banks may not extend as much credit as before," says Dave Novosel, a Chicago-based analyst at debt research firm Gimme Credit LLC. As a result, bidders may pull back, and the ball team could fetch "less than the expectations were just a month-and-a-half ago," he says.

In July, Tribune picked five bidders, each offering $1 billion or more for the team, to advance to a second round. The five — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and bond salesman Thomas Ricketts among them — have been poring over financial information on the team as they prepare their next offers. Mr. Ricketts declines to comment and Mr. Cuban didn't respond to a request for comment.

Then came a global stock market plunge that sent the U.S. financial system into a tailspin and choked off the flow of credit for a range of transactions. Debt-financed deals across the country have been put on hold, and even borrowers with good credit are paying far higher interest rates than they used to.

Bidders for the Cubs now face an increase of up to two percentage points in the interest rate they would have to pay on an acquisition loan. They are still waiting for some key information from Tribune, including details on broadcast revenue. So while many expected final bids to be due soon, it now appears that the deadline may not come for several weeks.

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Five teams with the most tortured fans

Clippers fan
A Clips fan's life: Wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin'.
Getty Images

By Lang Whitaker, SI.com

My favorite basketball team is the Atlanta Hawks. I realize this puts me in the minority for basketball fans but I understand why: The last time the Hawks won an NBA championship was 1958 -- 50 years ago. Still, I persevere. But yes, being a fan of the Hawks is torture, much like it must be for Mets fan today. Even though the Mets won the World Series in 1986, they've missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons by losing to the Marlins at home in the final game of the regular season. That's gotta be tough for a Mets fan to swallow (though as a Braves fan, I absolutely love it). Here are my top five teams with the most tortured fans.

1. Chicago Cubs: It's impressive enough that the franchise has been around since 1902, but at this point it's just laughable that the Cubs haven't won a World Series in 99 years. And yet, they still believe.

2. Los Angeles Clippers: Founded in Buffalo in 1970, the Clips are approaching their 40th anniversary and have still yet to win even a division title. Hang in there, Clipper Darrell.

3. Arizona Cardinals: Whenever a franchise is really struggling, many owners thing moving to a new city is a good idea, perhaps to shake the players from their malaise or, more likely, to find more cash from fans who aren't yet disenfranchised. Since winning an NFL title in 1947, the Cardinals have played in Chicago, St. Louis and, now, Phoenix. They still haven't won another title, though.

4. Boston Bruins: Even though they're one of the NHL's Original Six and they have a great arena and fanbase, the Bruins haven't celebrated with the Stanley Cup since 1972. Hey, at least every other team in Boston is a winner.

5. Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates used to be good ... in the '70s. But since losing a heartbreaker to my Braves in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS, the Pirates have yet to have even a winning season.

Which team has the most tortured fanbase? Let us know below ...

Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com.

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Behind the Mascot: Eight Great Stories About Strangely Named Teams

Your favorite sports team or alma mater’s mascot is probably some sort of big cat or bird of prey, and that’s fine. Your tattoo is right; the Tigers totally rule. However, there are quite a few more esoteric mascot choices out there, like a color of a certain disposition or a set of punctuation marks, all of which can still cause fans to well up with pride. Here are the origins of some of our favorites from this arcane set:

1. University of North Carolina Tar Heels’ Rameses the Ram
A quick trip to Chapel Hill will reveal lots of great bars and live music venues but surprisingly few wild rams walking Franklin Street. So why is the school’s mascot a ram? In 1924 cheerleader Vic Huggins decided the school needed a symbol. The stellar football team of 1922 had been led by the punishing running play of Jack “The Battering Ram” Merritt, so Huggins decided that a live ram would be the perfect mascot. Huggins had Rameses shipped in from Texas for $25, and when the Tar Heels beat heavily favored VMI in Rameses’ first appearance, the ram became something of an institution. Perhaps the least believable part of this entire story is that it involves Carolina winning a major football game, but records show it’s entirely true.

2. Philadelphia Phillies’ Phillie Phanatic
In the late 1970s, the Phillies’ mascots were two 18th-century siblings named Philadelphia Phil and Philadelphia Phyllis, but the duo did little to attract families wary of Veterans’ Stadium rough-and-tumble image. In an effort to find a more family-friendly mascot, team officials commissioned design firm Harrison/Erickson, who also designed Muppets and the Montreal Expos’ beloved Youppi!, to craft a gentler symbol for the team. Thus, in 1978, six feet of green fur, curled tongue, and gyrating belly were born to signify the rabid passion of Philly’s fans without drawing attention to the more beer-soaked aspects of the Vet.

The Phanatic has since become one of baseball’s most popular mascots, but since this is a Philly sports story, it can’t have a totally happy ending. Former team vice president and current part owner Bill Giles wrote in his autobiography that he made a key blunder when commissioning the design. Given the option of buying the Phanatic costume alone for $3900 or the costume and its copyright for $5200, Giles didn’t shell out the extra $1300. This decision turned out to be an expensive mistake: five years later Giles and a group of investors bought the team and eventually purchased the copyright from Harrison/Erickson for $250,000.

3. Oakland A’s Stomper the Elephant
Benjamin Shibe, who is credited with inventing the machinery to mass-produce standardized baseballs, owned the then-Philadelphia Athletics from their inception in 1901. In the early days of the franchise, New York Giants manager John “Muggsy” McGraw derisively said that Shibe had a white elephant on his hands since the Athletics couldn’t compete with the existing Phillies of the National League.

Instead of shying away from the taunt, legendary Athletics manager Connie Mack embraced the white elephant nickname, even going so far as to give his old friend McGraw a stuffed elephant when the Athletics met McGraw’s Giants in the 1905 World Series. Although eccentric owner Charlie Finley replaced the elephant with a live Missouri mule named after himself in 1963, the elephant mascot was restored in 1988, and Stomper debuted in 1997. With his high OBP and the great defensive range factor he gets from his trunk, Stomper is surely a favorite of current A’s general manager Billy Beane.

4. University of North Texas’s Mean Green
It takes a special player to get his number retired by his alma mater, but only a real legend’s nickname becomes his school’s mascot. The vicious play of football star “Mean” Joe Greene, perhaps best known to many casual fans for winning Super Bowls and bumming a Coke off a kid in a commercial, may have given rise to the school’s current moniker after years of playing with a less-than-inspired green Eagles mascot. According to one story touted by the university, Sidney Sue Graham, the wife of sports information director Fred Graham, called Greene “mean” following a brutal tackle during his late-1960s career at the school. She then began calling the entire smothering defensive unit the “Mean Green,” and although Graham initially dismissed his wife’s newly coined phrase, he eventually used it in a press release that caught on with reporters.

5. New College of Florida [ ]
That’s not a typo. The New College of Florida’s unofficial student mascot is actually the null set. After hearing rumors of this unique mascot but not being able to find any hard evidence on it, I placed a call to the school’s Office of Public Affairs, where the very friendly staffer informed me that while the 746-undergraduate college founded in 1960 doesn’t officially have a mascot, it’s fair to say that students adopted the null set early in the school’s history as a sly wink to its lack of athletic teams. Although the school now fields competitive teams in sailing, ultimate Frisbee, and soccer, the [ ] still seems almost as clever; one can’t afford to be all that picky when searching for a mascot based on set theory.

6. Georgia Tech’s Ramblin’ Wreck
College sports fans know that Georgia Tech’s mascot is the Yellow Jacket, a tradition that dates back to at least 1905. However, anyone who’s been to a home football game at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field in Atlanta has also seen the official mascot of the student body, a 1930 Ford Model A Sports Coupe known as the Ramblin’ Wreck. The phrase “ramblin’ wreck” dates back to at least the 1890’s as part of the school’s fight song and may have stemmed from a description of the entire student body traveling from Athens to Atlanta to watch a football game against the University of Georgia.

According to the school paper, The Technique, the application of the term “ramblin’ wreck” to cars first occurred in the early 20th century to describe makeshift vehicles built by Georgia Tech engineers during projects in the South American jungle. By 1927, the 1914 Ford of Dean of Men Floyd Field had taken on iconic status as a Ramblin’ Wreck.

The current Wreck was purchased in 1961 by Dean of Students Jim Dull, who found the Wreck parked near his apartment building. This new Ramblin’ Wreck led the Yellowjackets onto the field for their home game against Rice on September 30, 1961 and has done so for every home game since.

7. Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons’ Guy Made of Pistons
Technically, this one is the logo, not the mascot, of the Detroit Pistons forerunner that played in Fort Wayne, Indiana from 1941 to 1957, and I can’t find an official name for him. But really, your life is better for having gazed upon him. The team was originally owned by industrialist Fred Zollner, who also owned a large foundry that made automotive pistons, hence the team name. To that extent, the Pistons nickname and the logo make sense. Upon closer scrutiny, though, the logo raises a host of questions: What sort of terrible foundry accident created this piston monster? Why did it spare only his hands and feet? Could he beat the Tin Man in a game of one-on-one? Why is he happily dribbling that ball rather than using science to repair his missing body? We’ll never know; since 1996, the Pistons’ mascot has been Hooper, a black horse. Because, you know, pistons create horsepower. Even a guy whose entire head is a piston could probably come up with pun that’s a little less forced.

8. The University of Akron Zips’ Zippy the Kangaroo
If you saw Zippy win the 2007 Capital One National Mascot of the Year award, you probably wondered why Akron had the gloriously befuddling combination of the Zips nickname and a kangaroo mascot. Surely there was some internal logic there, right? Not at all, which makes Zippy all the more intriguing.

After a campus-wide contest to name the school’s athletic teams in 1925, freshman Margaret Hamlin won ten dollars for her suggestion of “Zippers” after a popular rubber overshoe of the same name made by local company B.F. Goodrich. The nickname remained the Zippers until 1950, when it was shortened to the Zips.

As for Zippy the kangaroo, she became the mascot in 1953 after student council advisor Dick Hansford recommended the idea. According to school’s Web site, Hansford proposed the idea because he enjoyed a contemporary comic strip featuring Kicky the Fighting Kangaroo. This combination of combining the name of a popular rubber shoe and a popular cartoon character deserves more exposure; we can only hope that somewhere out there a fledgling college is naming its teams the Crocs, complete with dancing Marmaduke mascot.

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Armstrong may not be able to begin comeback in Australia

Lance Armstrong speaks about his comeback during a cycling convention in Las Vegas earlier this week. On Saturday, the UCI explained that Armstrong might be ineligible to race in January, the month he has proposed returning to action at an Australia event.
By Jae C. Hong, AP
Lance Armstrong speaks about his comeback during a cycling convention in Las Vegas earlier this week. On Saturday, the UCI explained that Armstrong might be ineligible to race in January, the month he has proposed returning to action at an Australia event.

VARESE, Italy (AP) — Lance Armstrong may not be able to start his comeback at the Tour Down Under in Australia because of the anti-doping re-entry rules, cycling's governing body said Saturday.

Riders coming out of retirement need to be in the sport's anti-doping program for six months before being allowed to race. The UCI will discuss with the U..S anti-doping agency over the coming days whether Armstrong has met that requirement, perhaps through national notification. UCI said it will make a decision next week.

UCI president Pat McQuaid said Saturday that "the rules must be respected."

The Tour Down Under is set for Jan. 20-25.

Under the increasingly stringent anti-doping program of the International Cycling Union, rule 77 decides when riders can actually start their comeback in official races.

"A rider who has given notice of retirement from cycling to the UCI may not resume competing at international level unless he notifies the UCI at least 6 months in advance before he expects to return to international competition and is available for unannounced out of competition testing at any time during the period before actual return to competition," the rule says.

Armstrong officially announced Sept. 9 that he is returning to cycling after three years in retirement in a bid to win the Tour de France for an eighth time with the Astana team of his former cycling manager Johan Bruyneel. That date only leaves less than five months before the start of the Tour Down Under.

However, Armstrong has run marathons and competed in small races over the past years and it is unclear when his 6-month countback could officially begin.

"We have to look into that. I am not sure what the exact dates are that he started the program," McQuaid said.

If Armstrong is barred from competing in Australia it would be a major setback for organizers there.

The big issue is the official day of return that has been recorded in the anti-doping books. A UCI official, who demanded anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said that the cycling federation should be in line with whatever information USADA has. Discussions on that issue are set for early next week.

Armstrong has made anti-doping evidence a cornerstone of his comeback, after he had been hounded by doping suspicions for years during the time he won seven Tours in a row.

On Aug. 9, Armstrong competed in the Leadville-100 "Race Across the Sky," a lung-searing 100-mile mountain bike race through the Rockies. Astana spokesman Philippe Maertens said Armstrong had registered with USADA even before that date, but could not specify further.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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In U.S. federal court motion, Landis claims arbitrators had conflicts of interest

By Bonnie D. Ford

Suspended cyclist Floyd Landis has taken the unusual step of challenging the decision to uphold his positive doping test, stepping outside the anti-doping adjudication system to try to prove in U.S. federal court that his case was not fairly heard by a sports arbitration panel.

Lawyers from firms in California and Texas filed a motion late Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to vacate the June arbitrators' award in Landis' appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. That award left Landis suspended for two years and caused him to forfeit the 2006 Tour de France title.

The lawyers filed the motion on the grounds that the three men on the panel -- including the arbitrator Landis chose -- should have disclosed conflicts of interest that could have led to bias in their decision.

Floyd Landis

Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Floyd Landis is hoping the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles will reverse the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport upholding his doping ban.

Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour title a year ago after an American Arbitration Association panel ruled his positive test results for synthetic testosterone were accurate. He subsequently appealed that ruling to CAS.

The core of Landis' argument this time is that the three CAS arbitrators who heard his case come from a limited pool of candidates who often switch roles, sometimes serving as panelists, sometimes serving as lawyers representing clients in front of those panels -- thus giving them an incentive to rule favorably for each other.

Jan Paulsson, the high-profile Swedish lawyer chosen by Landis as a panelist, and Richard Young, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's lead counsel in the case who also serves as an arbitrator, are cited as prime examples.

The motion also contends that the arbitrators are inclined to rule for the anti-doping agencies in order to continue getting work. In addition, according to the motion, the arbitrators have served in the same rotating roles in high-stakes, non-sports cases.

If Landis were to be successful in the long-shot appeal, he said Friday, "I think I'd have some sense of exoneration -- maybe not what I had hoped for.''

In the short term, Landis said his goal is to get the federal court to vacate the $100,000 fine for reimbursement of legal costs that was levied against him by the CAS panel. His racing suspension ends Jan. 29, but Landis said he has been informed by the USADA that he will not be able to race until he pays the fine, which he argues was arbitrarily imposed and not supported by any evidence.

Young was traveling Friday and said he had not seen the motion, which also asks for a jury trial, and could not comment on specifics. He said he would be surprised if the federal court had jurisdiction over the case, and referred to the recent example of sprinter Justin Gatlin, who was unable to persuade a U.S. Court of Appeals judge to block a CAS-imposed ban on Gatlin's eligibility to compete in the Olympic trials last summer.

"Because CAS is a Swiss body [headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland], if you want to attack a CAS award, the vehicle is the Swiss Federal Tribunal," Young said. "As far as I know, everyone who has gone outside of that has been unsuccessful."

Young, a veteran litigator based in the Colorado Springs, Colo., office of the Holme, Roberts and Owen law firm, said he has abided by a CAS rule that prohibits arbitrators from serving on panels while they are representing clients in cases pending before CAS.

"The arbitrators based their $100,000 cost award on unsworn statements by USADA's lawyer after the close of the evidence, denying Mr. Landis a right to respond," the motion stated. "In addition, the cost award was outside the scope of the arbitrators' power because the issue of costs had not been formally submitted for decision, and because such an award is not contemplated by the rules governing the proceeding."

The arguments concerning the arbitrators' alleged conflict of interest were made possible only after CAS recently posted archival information -- most of it pre-2003 -- about past cases on its Web site, according to the motion. Prior to that, it had been hard to determine the identities of arbitrators and lawyers involved in specific hearings.

Calling USADA a "repeat player" that frequently brings cases before CAS, Landis' lawyers argued that arbitrators have a "powerful incentive" to rule against athletes in order to secure future assignments. The motion singled out six cases brought against athletes in which Paulsson had represented the International Olympic Committee before panels that included Young as a member.

In addition, the motion stated, Paulsson's firm of Freshfields, Bruckhaus, Derringer represented the city of London during its successful bid process for the 2012 Olympics, which was decided in 2005 by a vote of the IOC members. "Thus, members of the Freshfields firm, particularly Mr. Paulsson, have a significant economic incentive to espouse positions favorable to the IOC and little interest in embracing positions taken by an athlete with adverse interests.''

Bonnie D. Ford is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

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Lawmakers: Give first black boxing champ a pardon

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The first black heavyweight champion should be granted a presidential pardon for a racially motivated conviction 75 years ago that blemished his reputation and hurt his boxing career, the House recommended Friday.

Jack Johnson, at age 67 in this 1945 photo, before a boxing exhibiton in New York City.

Jack Johnson, at age 67 in this 1945 photo, before a boxing exhibiton in New York City.

Jack Johnson became world heavyweight champion in 1908, sparking a search for a white boxer, dubbed "the Great White Hope," who could beat him.

In 1913, Johnson was convicted of violating the Mann Act which outlawed the transportation of women across state lines for immoral purposes. Authorities had first unsuccessfully tried to charge Johnson over his relationship with a white woman who later became his wife.

They then found another white woman who testified that Johnson had transported her across state lines in violation of the Mann Act.

Johnson fled the country, returning in 1920 to serve nearly one year at Leavenworth. He tried to renew his boxing career after leaving prison, but never regained his title.

The House resolution, passed by voice, states that Johnson paved the way for black athletes to participate and succeed in integrated professional sports and that he was "wronged by a racially motivated conviction prompted by his success in the boxing ring and his relationships with white women."

It urged the president to grant Johnson, who died in 1946, a posthumous pardon.

"He was a victim of the times and we need to set the record straight -- clear his name -- and recognize him for his groundbreaking contribution to the sport of boxing," said Rep Peter King, R-N.Y., author of the resolution.

The measure now goes to the Senate, where Republican presidential nominee John McCain, a senator from Arizona, has a companion resolution.

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Lance Armstrong will race in Tour of California


Lance Armstrong, photographed at a cycling convention in Las Vegas, will ride in the Amgen Tour of California race in February.
The news comes one day after Armstrong officially announced his return to professional cycling after a three-year break.
By Diane Pucin, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Lance Armstrong announced today that he would ride in America's biggest cycling stage race, the Amgen Tour of California.

Armstrong made the announcement at Interbike, a cycling convention in Las Vegas.
The news came one day after Armstrong officially announced his return to professional cycling after a three-year break. However, he had not listed the Feb. 14-22 California race on his schedule.

Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, which owns and operates the race, said today that his company and Armstrong came to an agreement that does not include any appearance fees for Armstrong.

Armstrong, who retired from cycling after winning a record-setting seventh consecutive Tour de France in 2005, will open his comeback season in January in Adelaide, Australia, in the Tour Down Under. When Armstrong made that announcement, Australian media questioned race officials about whether Armstrong was receiving a personal guarantee to make his first competitive Australian performance. No answer was given.

The 37-year-old Texan said Wednesday he is not taking a salary from his new team, Astana, and that his purpose in racing was to raise money for his cancer foundation, Livestrong.

Also Thursday, the Associated Press reported Tour de France officials said that as long as Astana remained free of doping controversies that the team would be invited to participate in the 2009 Tour de France.

Last summer, Tour officials refused entry to Astana because of doping problems in 2007. Because Astana was one of several teams to have been caught up in recurring drug scandals, it seemed as if Astana's Tour de France ban was extra punishment aimed at team leader Johan Bruyneel for his associations with Armstrong.

It is no secret that Tour officials have long suspected Armstrong of doping. Instead, French investigations uncovered doping among other prominent cyclists, and champions such as Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso and Floyd Landis were knocked out of the sport.

Messick called Armstrong's decision to ride in California, "Great news for Amgen, for American cycling and for the cancer cause. Lance has a singular ability to create a lot of attention and focus people's eyeballs on cycling and do an enormous amount of good for cancer."

But Messick said he did not feel pressure to attract Armstrong to his race.

"The importance was to realize that this isn't just a Lance Armstrong race," Messick said. "It's a race where the best teams and best riders want to compete. Having Lance here is verification of that, but we'd like to think we're getting to a point where we're a race and not reliant on a single personality."

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Rossi roars to sixth world title


Italian Valentino Rossi claimed his sixth world premier-class title by winning the Japanese MotoGP at Motegi.

Rossi only needed to finish third to secure his first MotoGP title since 2005, but made sure with a fifth straight win of the season.

Starting fourth on the grid, the Yamaha rider cruised to victory after passing 2007 champion Casey Stoner on lap 14.

Stoner was second, just 1.943 seconds adrift, with Spaniards Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo in third and fourth.

Rossi's win was his eighth of the season and also his 70th top-class Grand Prix victory.

606: DEBATE
thoughtswithEduardo

Britain's James Toseland, who started the race in 10th position, finished in 11th place.

"Today was a great battle, it was a great race," said the 29-year-old Rossi, who started fourth on the grid. "I felt confident with the bike and winning the race and world championship is fantastic."

A world champion at both 125cc and 250cc, Rossi claimed the 500cc crown in 2001 and won the MotoGP title every year from 2002 to 2005 but lost out to American Nicky Hayden in 2006 and Stoner in 2007.

Best World title so far - Rossi

"It is difficult to say which world championship is better, but this is great," said Rossi.

"I feel very good. The battle this year was very tough especially with Stoner and Pedrosa."

Rossi secured his latest championship with three races still left of the 2008 campaign which underlined his dominance this season.

"It was a long season with a lot of hard racing and hard battles," he added. "I have won a lot of difficult championships, like the first one with Yamaha in 2004, but I think this one is the one that I put more effort into to win.

Valentino is a worthy champion - Stoner

"I worked a lot in the week of the races, but also out of the races I also try to stay concentrated and very strong.

"My team deserves the championship. We work hard every weekend and we are very fast."

Stoner told BBC Sport that Rossi deserved his title.

"I felt really good out there but about halfway round I started to tire," said the Australian. "I couldn't control the bike and I let Valentino pass.

"I felt better towards the end of the race but made a little mistake and couldn't make up the time. Valentino is a worthy champion."

Rossi's victory in Japan handed him a unassailable 92-point lead with three races left in Australia, Malaysia and Valencia.

The 29-year-old made a decent start to the race and soon found himself in third position, he soon past Honda's Pedrosa on lap six before reining in Stoner eight laps later to claim the world title.


Japanese MotoGP result:

1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha 43min 09.599secs,
2. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati at 1.943,
3. Dani Pedrosa (ESP) Honda 4.866,
4. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP) Yamaha 6.165,
5. Nicky Hayden (USA) Honda 24.593,
6. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Suzuki 25.685,
7. Colin Edwards (USA) Yamaha 25.918,
8. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Honda 26.003,
9. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Honda 26.219,
10. John Hopkins (USA) Kawasaki 37.131,
11. James Toseland (GBR) Yamaha 37.574,
12. Randy De Puniet (FRA) Honda 38.020,
13. Marco Melandri (ITA) Ducati 39.768,
14. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Ducati 45.846,
15. Anthony West (AUS) Kawasaki 55.748,
16. Toni Elias (ESP) Ducati 59.320,
17. Alex De Angelis (RSM) Honda 1:12.398.

World championship standings:

1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha 312 points,
2. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati 220,
3. Dani Pedrosa (ESP) Honda 209,
4. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP) Yamaha 169,
5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Honda 136,
6. Colin Edwards (USA) Yamaha 118,
7. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Suzuki 117,
8. Nicky Hayden (USA) Honda 115,
9. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Suzuki 96,
10. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Honda 95

250cc race result:

1. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) Gilera 43min 09.385sec,
2. Alvaro Bautista (ESP) Aprilia at 0.348,
3. Alex Debon (ESP) Aprilia 8.414,
4. Julian Simon (ESP) KTM 9.151,
5. Mika Kallio (FIN) KTM 17.041

125cc race results:

1. Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia 39min 57.228sec,
2. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Derbi at 0.151,
3. Gabor Talmacsi (HUN) Aprilia 0.281,
4. Joan Olive (ESP) Derbi 5.945,
5. Nicolas Terol (ESP) Aprilia 6.072

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Tiger Woods' recovery could take two years

By Lewine Mair


Long wait: it could be a while until Tiger Woods holds aloft a major trophy Photo: Getty Images

Dr Lanny L Johnson, a pioneering orthopaedic specialist who invented the tools used in Woods’ knee operation in June, has warned the 32-year-old American not to rush back, or risk suffering long-term damage.

“Other forces will try and hurry Tiger back, but he should take it easy,” Dr Johnson told The Daily Telegraph. “Dr Tom Rosenburg, who has performed his operations, is a great surgeon and if Tiger’s smart, he will listen to what he has to say.

“If you tear your cruciate ligament in American football, you can play within a year – and with full confidence within two years. Based on this, and the recovery period of other athletes, I am guessing that Tiger will need two years.”

Woods announced he was to have a fourth operation on his left knee two days after he defied doctors to win the US Open at Torrey Pines – his 14th major title of an incredible career.

Since that feat, achieved despite a stress fracture of the knee, he has been undergoing rehabilitation and was expected to be back in time for the 2009 Masters.

However, while he is likely to be fit enough to play next year, Dr Johnson’s diagnosis suggests he could be struggling to be back to his dominant best in time for the summer of 2010.

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Singh clinches PGA Tour point race, earns $10 million bonus

ATLANTA -- Vijay Singh has won the FedEx Cup, finishing four rounds at the Tour Championship to clinch the PGA Tour's points race and earn a $10 million bonus.

Harig On Flubbed Finale

It was a dream ending at the Tour Championship on Sunday with Camilo Villegas edging Sergio Garcia in a playoff. Oh, except for the virtually meaningless finish to the FedEx Cup playoffs. Bob Harig

Singh won the first two playoff events, building such a large lead that no one could catch him at East Lake unless the 45-year-old Fijian withdrew or was disqualified. He closed with an even-par 70 and finished at 9-over 289 for the tournament, far behind the leaders.

It was the second year of the FedEx Cup, and the second straight year the finale lacked drama. Tiger Woods skipped the opening playoff event in 2007 and won by such a big margin he could have skipped the Tour Championship.

Singh gets $9 million in cash. The other $1 million is deferred compensation.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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7 Ridiculous Ways to Die While Golfing

If you could choose the means by which you’ll check out of this life, most men would either die old, do something gloriously macho, or in David Blaine’s case find the lamest way possible. Not many would choose getting peed on by a rat. Yet, we have evidence that golf is one of the most dangerous athletic activities anyone can partake–not because of a lightening strike or an animal attack, but apparently what appears to be natural selection working its course when they would’ve been safer fighting mma.




Always avoid bears on the golf course.

1997 - David Bailey, 40, of Dublin, Ireland was playing a round when he jumped into a ditch to find his lost ball at the Caddockstown golf course in Co Kildare. It turns out said ditch was inhabited by a rat who was so startled it ran up his trousers and urinated down his leg. Not to be phased, Bailey ignored his partners urging to take a shower citing that he had no visible scratches or bites–just pee. After touching his leg he proceeded to smoke a cigar and only got around to showering 4 hours later. Two weeks later he checked into a Dublin hospital with severe jaundice and dropped dead with a collapsed kidney. It turns out he contracted a bacterial infection called leptospirosis, which is often spread by rodents.

1994 - Jeremy Brenno, 16, of Gloversville, NY was so angry about his bad shot that he gave his 3-wood a good whack against a bench. Like a new scene from Final Destination the shaft broke, his club bounced back, and the broken piece pierced his pulmonary vein.




1951 - Edward Harrison of Kenmore, WA was playing a round at the Inglewood Country Club when the shaft of his driver broke and pierced his groin. He staggered 100 yards before bleeding to death.

1995 - Jean Potevan of Orleans, France was so irate after missing 3 straight puts that he threw his bag into a lake out of sheer frustration. Only problem: his car keys were also in the bag. He dove in and proceeded to drown after getting entangled in the weeds. According to his golf partner, his last words were “I’m going back for the keys, but I’m leaving the clubs down there.”

1995 - Takeo Niyama, 43, only had 2 previous convictions and had served 6 months for assaulting someone on the golf course just a year before; so obviously it sounds perfectly safe to play a round with him and make fun of his bad form. His golfing partner Aioa Sakajiri laughed at his horrible slice into a Tokyo lake, so Niyama beat him to death wtih a 5-iron.



The price was wrong for Aioa Sakjiri

1994 - Diana Nagy of Charleston, WV, became a widow when her husband Alexander Nagy fell from a golf cart while playing heavily intoxicated in a tournament at Berry Hills Country Club. Claiming the cart should’ve had seatbelts, she filed suit 2 years later seeking $15M. Her defendants included the country club, the golf cart manufacturer & 2 subsidiaries, and her own son who was driving the cart. Lesson: Don’t drink and drive, but if you do teach your son how to avoid golddiggers.

Despite all these unfortunate golfing accidents, there is one way to go that is worthy of going out in style:

1994 - Emil Kijek, 79, of North Atteboro, MA hit his first ever hole-in-one while golfing at the Sun Valley Golf Course in Rehoboth, MA. After doing so he approached the ball, said “Oh no”, and collapsed.

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Former high school football star Brandon Jackson sentenced to prison

By TIARA ELLIS / The Dallas Morning News
tellis@dallasnews.com

A second chance for a former high school football standout convicted of armed robbery did not pan out.

MICHAEL MULVEY/DMN
MICHAEL MULVEY/DMN
Former high school football standout Brandon Jackson sits in a Dallas courtroom earlier this month.

Brandon Jackson, 20, received a five-year prison sentence Monday for violating his probation. It was the maximum sentence that state District Judge Lana Myers could offer.

Last year, a jury showed mercy and sentenced Mr. Jackson to probation. Judge Myers set the terms of that probation for 10 years.

Less than one year later, Mr. Jackson was re-arrested and accused of breaking into a Garland convenience store and running from police, both violations of his probation.

At the continuation of Mr. Jackson's revocation hearing today, Mr. Jackson's sisters described him as depressed and struggling to find work.

Defense attorney Scottie Allen asked Judge Myers to give Mr. Jackson another chance.

"His depression is real," Mr. Allen said. "It's that depression that brought him before the court today."

Prosecutor Marcia Taylor said today that she asked for prison time during his trial last year, and was doing the same during this hearing.

"Enough is enough," Ms. Taylor said. "I don't know when the prescription for depression is to commit another felony."

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Doctors: Jaguars tackle Collier is paralyzed and had leg amputated

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Richard Collier, shot while sitting in a car outside an apartment complex earlier this month, is paralyzed below the waist and his left leg was amputated, his doctor said Monday.

Collier was on a ventilator for about three weeks and has no memory of the shooting, said Dr. Andy Kerwin, a surgeon for the University of Florida at Shands Jacksonville hospital.

"His overall condition has improved greatly," Kerwin said. "We expect him to be discharged soon."

Kerwin said Collier suffered 14 bullet wounds to the back, left groin, left legs and right buttock. In addition, a bullet severed his spinal cord, causing the paralysis. The amputation was the result of damage to his left leg and groin, where blood clots formed. Five bullets alone were removed from his urinary bladder and the 26-year-old player also had bouts of pneumonia, infections and renal failure.

Still, his condition has been upgraded to good from critical.

Collier will undergo physical therapy to learn how to move from his bed to a wheelchair. He will never walk again, the doctor said.

Collier's agent Jeff Jankovich said the player's family wanted to make sure Collier understood what had happened to him before releasing details to the public. He said they even kept the Jaguars in the dark.

"He has extreme grief for a lifetime of dreams he won't be able to fulfill," the agent said.

Jankovich refused to say specifically when Collier would be released, citing security concerns.

Collier and former teammate Kenneth Pettway were waiting for two women outside an apartment complex early Sept. 2 when a gunman fired into the vehicle, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Pettway was not injured.

The motive behind the attack on Collier is unknown, but investigators said earlier he appeared to be targeted. Police have made no arrests in the shooting.

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio and several players attended the news conference.

"It's a tragedy this young man was caught up in this violence," Del Rio said. "It's a great tragedy for a young man who had such a promising future."

Offensive tackle Tony Pashos said the attack on Collier has been difficult for his teammates. "I think about him a lot," he said.

Collier was in his third year with the NFL after graduating from Valdosta State.

He was the third NFL player shot in the past 18 months. Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor was fatally shot during what police said was a botched burglary attempt at his Miami-area home in November. Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was killed when his rented limousine was sprayed with bullets minutes after leaving a New Year's party at a club in 2007.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Oklahoma takes top spot in AP poll; Bama moves up to No. 2

NEW YORK -- Oklahoma, where the No. 1 ranking rests again.

The Sooners sit atop the AP Top 25 on Sunday after the first upset-filled weekend of the season gave the media poll a powerful shake. Alabama was both a mover and a shaker, as the Crimson Tide rose to No. 2 after a surprising 41-30 pounding of Georgia.

Previously top-ranked Southern California lost at Oregon State to set the tone for a weekend that brought back memories of the topsy-turvy 2007 season.

Poll Positions

The top five teams in The Associated Press poll:

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
For complete AP and USA Today polls, click here.

On Saturday, two more top-five teams fell. Florida was stunned at home by Mississippi, 31-30. Georgia, which started the season No. 1, was down 31 points by halftime to Alabama and never recovered.

Overall, nine ranked teams lost, six to unranked foes.

The last time such a shake-up occurred? One year ago, when in the last week of September three of the top-five teams fell and seven ranked teams lost to unranked opponents.

"I think we talked [Friday] that anyone can beat anyone on any given Saturday, and that's why you've got to come out and you've got to play on edge, full tilt every game because if not, someone's liable to come in and beat you," Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford said after the Sooners' 35-10 victory over TCU on Saturday.

Oklahoma is No. 1 for the 96th time in the history of the AP poll, breaking a tie with Notre Dame for the most ever. The last time the Sooners were No. 1 was 2003, when they were atop the polls all season before losing the Big 12 title game to Kansas State.

Oklahoma received 43 of a possible 65 first-place votes and 1,599 points.

Alabama's impressive performance jumped the Tide six spots. Alabama hasn't been ranked this high since it was No. 2 for the first eight polls of the 1993 season.

The Tide received 21 first-place votes and 1,565 points.

LSU is No. 3, moving up two spots. No. 4 Missouri, which received a first-place vote, and No. 5 Texas also moved up two places and left the top five under the control of the Big 12 (three teams) and Southeastern Conference (two).

Penn State moved up six spots to No. 6 after its 38-24 victory against Illinois.

Sooner and Later

Oklahoma is No. 1 in the AP Poll for the first time since 2003 and broke the record for most appearances atop the AP poll.

Since 1936

Appearances
Oklahoma 96
Notre Dame 95
Ohio State 93
USC 90

Texas Tech was idle, but took advantage of the attrition in the top 10 to move up to No. 7. BYU is eighth, USC dropped eight spots to No. 9 and South Florida is No. 10.

In the USA Today coaches' poll, Oklahoma was No. 1, but LSU was No. 2, followed by Missouri, Alabama and Texas. In the Harris, poll which came out for the first time this season Sunday and is used in the BCS standings, Oklahoma was No. 1, followed by LSU, Alabama, Missouri and Texas.

Georgia and Florida each dropped eight spots. The Bulldogs are No. 11 and Florida is No. 12, followed by fellow SEC rival Auburn at 13th.

No. 14 Ohio State is followed by Utah, Kansas, Boise State and Wisconsin, which dropped nine spots after blowing a 19-point lead and losing to Michigan 27-25.

No. 19 Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech, which moved back into the rankings with 35-30 win at Nebraska, rounded out the top 20.

No. 21 Oklahoma State is ranked for the first time since 2004.

Fresno State, Oregon, Connecticut and Wake Forest, which was upset 24-17 at home by Navy, are the final five. UConn is in the rankings for the first time this season.

Clemson, Illinois, East Carolina, which lost its second straight game, and TCU all fell out of the rankings.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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Sooners grab No. 1 in poll after stunning weekend

Oklahoma wide receiver Manuel Johnson leaves TCU defender Tejay Johnson behind as he scores in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008.  (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
AP Photo: Oklahoma wide receiver Manuel Johnson leaves TCU defender Tejay Johnson behind as he scores in...

By RALPH D. RUSSO, AP College Football Writer

NEW YORK - Oklahoma, where the No. 1 ranking rests again. The Sooners sit atop the AP Top 25 on Sunday after the first upset-filled weekend of the season gave the media poll a powerful shake. Alabama was both a mover and a shaker, as the Crimson Tide rose to No. 2 after a surprising 41-30 pounding of Georgia.

Previously top-ranked Southern California lost at Oregon State to set the tone for a weekend that brought back memories of the topsy-turvy 2007 season.

On Saturday, two more top-five teams fell. Florida was stunned at home by Mississippi, 31-30. Georgia, which started the season No. 1, was down 31 points by halftime to Alabama and never recovered.

Overall, nine ranked teams lost, six to unranked foes.

The last time such a shake-up occurred? One year ago, when in the last week of September three of the top-five teams fell and seven ranked teams lost to unranked opponents.

"I think we talked (Friday) that anyone can beat anyone on any given Saturday, and that's why you've got to come out and you've got to play on edge, full tilt every game because if not, someone's liable to come in and beat you," Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford said after the Sooners' 35-10 victory over TCU on Saturday.

Oklahoma is No. 1 for the 96th time in the history of the AP poll, breaking a tie with Notre Dame for the most ever. The last time the Sooners were No. 1 was 2003, when they were atop the polls all season before losing the Big 12 title game to Kansas State.

Oklahoma received 43 of a possible 65 first-place votes and 1,599 points.

Alabama's impressive performance jumped the Tide six spots. Alabama hasn't been ranked this high since it was No. 2 for the first eight polls of the 1993 season.

The Tide received 21 first-place votes and 1,565 points.

LSU is No. 3, moving up two spots. No. 4 Missouri, which received a first-place vote, and No. 5 Texas also moved up two places and left the top five under the control of the Big 12 (three teams) and Southeastern Conference (two).

Penn State moved up six spots to No. 6 after its 38-24 victory against Illinois.

Texas Tech was idle, but took advantage of the attrition in the top 10 to move up to No. 7. BYU is eighth, USC dropped eight spots to No. 9 and South Florida is No. 10.

Georgia and Florida each dropped eight spots. The Bulldogs are No. 11 and Florida is No. 12, followed by fellow SEC rival Auburn at 13th.

No. 14 Ohio State is followed by Utah, Kansas, Boise State and Wisconsin, which dropped nine spots after blowing a 19-point lead and losing to Michigan 27-25.

No. 19 Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech, which moved back into the rankings with 35-30 win at Nebraska, rounded out the top 20.

No. 21 Oklahoma State is ranked for the first time since 2004.

Fresno State, Oregon, Connecticut and Wake Forest, which was upset 24-17 at home by Navy, are the final five. UConn is in the rankings for the first time this season.

Clemson, Illinois, East Carolina, which lost its second straight game, and TCU all fell out of the rankings.

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Favre’s 6 TDs lead Jets past Cardinals 56-35

By DENNIS WASZAK Jr., AP Sports Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)—Sore ankle and all, Broadway Brett joined Broadway Joe in the Jets’ record book.

Brett Favre set a career high and tied Joe Namath’s Jets mark with six touchdown passes, including three to Laveranues Coles, and New York took advantage of a series of mistakes by Arizona in a big second quarter before holding on to beat the Cardinals 56-35 on Sunday.

“Throwing six touchdown passes was awesome,” Favre said. “That had nothing to do with how I felt I played. It was one of those games. More importantly, I felt the overall game itself, I managed it well.”

Favre, showing no signs of a left ankle injury that hobbled him during the week, finished 24-for-34 for 289 yards and an interception for the Jets (2-2).

“I asked him if he had tied a career high and he said, ‘I’ve never thrown six,”’ said Jerricho Cotchery, who had two TD catches. “That was like the end of the conversation because I’m scratching my head, like, ‘Really? He’s never thrown six touchdown passes before?’ He played great today.

“He was just dialing it up and telling everybody, ‘Hey, get ready. The ball is coming.”

Arizona wide receiver Anquan Boldin was carted off the field after a scary helmet-to-helmet collision with New York safety Eric Smith in the end zone with 27 seconds remaining. Boldin was moving all his extremities on the field and was talking to his teammates, but was immobilized and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York for precautionary reasons.

“He’s alert,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “He asked to get up and the doctors wouldn’t let him.”

New York’s defense rattled Kurt Warner and forced three fumbles and two interceptions in the first half, and the Jets set a franchise record by scoring 34 points in the second quarter.

“That’s more like it,” safety Kerry Rhodes said. “We came after them with some looks and wrinkles they hadn’t seen.”

Coles had eight catches for 105 yards after campaigning to the coaches for more plays earlier in the week.

“I think it was a little bit of me being a brat,” he said. “Sometimes you want to be involved a little bit more, not in a selfish way. I feel if given an opportunity, I can help the team win some ballgames. I went and voiced that to the coaches and they heard me.”

Warner tried to bring the Cardinals (2-2) back in the second half as Arizona scored 35 points. Warner, 40-of-57 for 472 yards, threw a 14-yard TD pass to Jerheme Urban with 4:49 left, but lost the ball again on a fumble with less than 3 minutes left.

“It’s a game, you know?” said Warner, clearly shaken up by Boldin’s injury. “I didn’t play well. I’ll bounce back and play better next week.”

Favre hit Dustin Keller for a 24-yard touchdown and a 2-point conversion with 1:54 remaining to seal it for the Jets, wearing their navy and gold New York Titans throwback uniforms.

“It’s just one game,” Favre said. “Don’t expect six touchdowns every week, but we, as an offensive unit, should see and expect a lot of ourselves.”

After a scoreless first quarter, the Jets got on the scoreboard early in the second when Favre found Coles streaking across the back of the end zone for a 7-0 lead. Darrelle Revis gave the Jets a 14-0 lead just over a minute later on a 32-yard interception return.

New York Jets quarterback Brett Favre throws a pass during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008, at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Favre threw six touchdown passes as the Jets beat the Cardinals 56-35.
New York Jets quarterback Bret…
AP - Sep 28, 6:41 pm EDT

Coles caught his second touchdown pass of the game with 7:17 left in the half as he went uncovered down the left sideline as defensive back Eric Green crumpled to the turf near the line of scrimmage with a sprained right knee.

Favre and Coles connected for the third time on a 2-yard score with 10 seconds left in the half to make it 31-0.

The Cardinals chose to run a play instead of taking a knee—and paid for it. Warner was sacked by David Bowens, who knocked the ball out of the quarterback’s hands and recovered it. Jay Feely kicked a 30-yard field goal as time expired.

Edgerrin James had touchdown runs on consecutive possessions in the second half, cutting the deficit to 34-15, and Tim Hightower added a 1-yard TD run to make it 34-21.

Favre came back and connected with Cotchery on a 17-yard touchdown, but Boldin had an 8-yard touchdown catch, cutting the deficit to 41-28.

Again, Favre led the Jets down the field and hit Cotchery for a 40-yard touchdown.

“As long as I play up to par and allow these guys to make plays,” Favre said, “we can be pretty good.”

Notes

Namath threw six TD passes in a 44-34 win at Baltimore in 1972. … Favre had thrown as many as five TD passes three previous times, but none since 1998. … Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald had eight catches in his 64th career game, making him the third fastest to 350.

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EliteXC's undefeated poster girl talks fitness

Check out Shape Magazine's behind-the-scenes footage of EliteXC poster girl Gina Carano as she explains how she stays in top fighting condition. And don't miss our photo gallery of Gina in fighting action.

Then tune in on October 4 at 8 p.m. on Showtime, followed at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, as Gina puts her undefeated record on the line against Kelly "Blood Red" Kobold as part of Showtime and CBS' third installment of Saturday Night Fights.

Also featured on the card that night is the highly anticipated showdown between street fighting phenom Kimbo Slice and MMA legend Ken Shamrock.


Exclusive Video: Gina Talks Fitness with Shape Magazine


Photo Gallery: Gina Carano in Action

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Howard apologizes for negative comments, incidents off court

DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Howard took a first step toward repairing his damaged reputation Monday, saying he was sorry for disrespecting the national anthem.

"I'd like to say that I'm truly and really am sorry for everything that's happened in the last five months," Howard said in a statement before taking questions from reporters on the first day of Mavericks training camp. "This is not the way I carry myself, not how I want to be portrayed. I'm sorry to everybody I've offended. I'm upset with myself and the way I've acted."

Josh Howard

Howard

In a video posted recently on YouTube, Howard was shown at a charity flag football game. As the national anthem plays in the background, Howard approaches a camera and says: "'The Star Spangled Banner' is going on right now. I don't even celebrate that [expletive]. I'm black."

The video, which was widely viewed on the Internet, prompted blistering criticisms, including some racially charged e-mails that owner Mark Cuban posted on his blog.

In his first public appearance since the video was posted, Howard said he loves his country.

"It was me joking around," he said. "Guys were out there making fun and I decided to get along in it. I wasn't using my head. I guess the valuable lesson I did learn is that words really do hurt. You're held accountable for what you say.

"That's not me. ... I went to military school. I have friends that served in the military. I know how it is to wake up and salute the flag. The national anthem every game, I have my hand over my heart."

Howard had another off-court incident during the off-season when he was arrested in July after police said he was drag racing at 94 mph in a 55 mph zone.

He said he knows that there will be some fan backlash about his troubled summer.

"I'll try to win them back," he said. "Whatever it takes me to do that, I'll do it."

Howard also was criticized last season for saying in a radio interview during a first-round playoff series against New Orleans that he occasionally smokes marijuana. Later that same series, he angered coach Avery Johnson by throwing himself a birthday party after a Game 4 loss to the Hornets.

"It was a rough summer for him, but I believe in his heart he's a good guy," teammate Dirk Nowitzki said. "He just made some bad decisions."

Howard said another mistake he made was not addressing the national anthem controversy when it first surfaced.

"I didn't do anything to correct it. I let a lot of stuff go," he said. "It wasn't me. I'm trying to move forward. This [the press conference] is the perfect opportunity. Everybody's here. There's nothing to hide. I made a mistake. I'm ready to move forward."

Rick Carlisle, who was hired as Mavericks coach after Johnson was fired following Dallas' first-round playoff exit, visited Howard at his North Carolina home during the summer. Carlisle expects a strong season from Howard.

"I know he's going to be motivated both on the floor and in terms of how he represents this franchise," Carlisle said.

Howard, who enters his sixth NBA season, averaged 19.9 points and seven rebounds last season.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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Musician loses Milwaukee gig for playing a little 'Go Cubs Go'

Ted Wulfers never thought that singing Steve Goodman's "Go Cubs Go" could get you fired, but that's just what happened to the Chicago musician over the weekend. Wulfers was scheduled to perform Sunday at a TGI Friday's inside Milwaukee's Miller Park. But he was uninvited last week. The reason? The last time Wulfers performed there in July, he played "Go Cubs Go" after a Cubs victory over the Brewers.

"It was not taken kindly by the Brewers fans," said a spokeswoman for TGI Friday's. "Friday's and the Brewers made the decision not to have this band back this year."

Wulfers, who sang the national anthem in May at Miller Park, said he had no idea Brewers fans would be upset with "just one chorus" from "Go Cubs Go."

"Basically I had compared this to playing 'Free Bird'—the crowd just kept asking for it," he said, while conceding the crowd was mostly Cubs fans.

"I understand the Brewers are trying to fight for the wild card," Wulfers said before Milwaukee beat the Cubs on Sunday to secure a playoff spot. "I'm just kind of the guy being kicked in the backside for no reason. I've been a Cubs fan and a Brewers fan all my life."

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Bitter Repeat on Stadium’s Final Day

By BEN SHPIGEL

Barton Silverman/The New York Times
Scott Schoeneweis gave up a homer to Wes Helms, the only batter he faced, in the eighth inning

On the last day of last season, after one of the worst flops in baseball history, the Mets made a promise to themselves, to one another and to their fans: it would never happen again.

True to their word, the Mets did not collapse. What happened on this gray and gloomy Sunday afternoon was the culmination of all their flaws, all their shortcomings, collaborating to produce a tumble from postseason contention that was just as stunning and, in a way, more heart-wrenching than it was last year.

For the second consecutive year, the Florida Marlins extinguished the Mets’ hopes on the final day of the regular season, defeating them, 4-2, to close Shea Stadium without a last gasp at October baseball.

The loss, coupled with the Brewers’ 3-1 victory against the Chicago Cubs about 30 minutes later, gave Milwaukee the National League’s wild card. For the first time in 16 years, neither New York team will make the postseason.

“It feels like a wasted season,” David Wright said.

The Mets held a three-and-a-half-game lead over Philadelphia in the East on Sept. 10 — half their lead from a year ago — but lost 10 of their final 17 games and were eliminated from division contention Saturday. Still, the wild card remained a possibility, but that, too, slipped from their grasp.

The offense, so dynamic at times, could not ease the stress on the team’s weakest aspect, its bullpen. The Mets scored five runs in the three-game series against Florida, and the bullpen allowed five runs in six and two-thirds innings.

Scoring twice was enough on Saturday, when Johan Santana pitched a three-hit shutout. But after Oliver Pérez, like Santana pitching on short rest, tired in the sixth inning Sunday, Manager Jerry Manuel asked his relievers to record the final 11 outs. They did, but not before inflicting more damage. Joe Smith walked in a run, and Scott Schoeneweis and Luis Ayala surrendered back-to-back home runs to Wes Helms and Dan Uggla to snap a 2-2 tie in the eighth.

Some in the crowd of 56,059 left when Cameron Maybin squeezed Ryan Church’s deep fly ball for the final out, but the rest stayed for an extended and dramatic farewell ceremony to Shea. It was as if the fans were turning their collective backs at the disastrous last two seasons and embracing the more distant past. The only current player who came out for the ceremony was the rookie Daniel Murphy, who walked behind home plate, scooped up some dirt and returned to the dugout to scattered applause.

“This is the second year in a row that I’ve been waiting for the next day and the next day didn’t arrive,” said Pedro Martínez, who would have started a one-game playoff against Milwaukee on Monday. “It’s sad to see it go that way and not be able to do anything.”

In the clubhouse, players who endured a miserable fall and a dreary winter could not believe they were in for more of the same. José Reyes sat sobbing in front of his locker, his head in his hands, cursing himself. Wright, who admitted feeling pressure to carry the team, staggered around like a zombie, his eye black smudged. Jeff Wilpon, the chief operating officer, walked around consoling players, shaking Schoeneweis’s hand and sitting beside John Maine and Mike Pelfrey to offer encouragement. As he left, Carlos Beltrán fell onto Martínez’s shoulder, crying.

“Sure, I have to believe it — it’s happening,” said Beltrán, whose two-run homer in the sixth evened the score at 2-2. “Last year, we had an opportunity and we didn’t accomplish our goal, and this year also. It’s a bad group to be in as a player.”

Manuel addressed his players for about five minutes after the game, thanking them for their effort and for the respect they showed him since he took over for Willie Randolph on June 17. Manuel guided the team to a 55-38 record, building upon already strong relationships with core players and demonstrating no fear when making strategic and personnel decisions.

“I wish I could have led them a little further,” Manuel said.

Many players, including Wright and Beltrán, endorsed Manuel’s return, and General Manager Omar Minaya indicated that he, too, was satisfied with Manuel’s work. He plans to meet with ownership within the next day or two, and it would be a tremendous surprise if the Mets did not retain Manuel.

Part of the reason the sting of Sunday’s defeat may linger was the drama enveloping the day. As the Mets’ game remained scoreless through five innings, the Cubs led Milwaukee, 1-0, and the fans at Shea roared when that run was posted on the scoreboard. They groaned when the Brewers tied the score, and a few Mets leaning against the dugout railing bowed their heads when Milwaukee went ahead.

Trailing by two, the Mets had two on with two outs in the eighth and Carlos Delgado due up when the Marlins made a pitching change. At that moment, the “9” beside the MIL/CHI on the scoreboard switched to an “F,” signifying “Final,” and everyone in the cranky old ballpark — players, fans, former greats who gathered to say goodbye to Shea — knew that only a Mets win could stave off elimination.

The Mets tried distancing themselves from the uncomfortable end to last season, and despite their blemishes, consistently showed greater resolve. When the Marlins bounced the Mets on the final day last season, there was little doubt after the first inning, when Florida scored seven runs. On Sunday, Beltrán responded to the Marlins’ two runs in the sixth with his two-run homer in the bottom half. Delgado, in the eighth, crunched a drive that was caught near the warning track in left field.

And in the ninth, Church, who had struck out in his previous six at-bats, ripped a ball toward center. Could it? Would it?

“When he hit it, the way the ball took off, part of me wanted to believe it had a chance to go out,” said Damion Easley, who had walked with two outs. “But I just didn’t know.”

The ball nestled in Maybin’s glove, and the Mets stood paralyzed, in disbelief that despite losing key players like Billy Wagner, Maine and Fernando Tatis; despite two months of underachieving that cost their manager his job; and despite carrying the burden of last season every day of this one, it had ended the same way. And so the final season of Shea will end just as the first one did 44 years ago.

“We failed,” Wright said. “We failed as a team.”

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