INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Coach Nick Saban led Alabama off the team plane and into a cold reality. The Crimson Tide will either return home from frigid Indianapolis with another national championship — or as this season’s national runner-up. Saban’s team arrived shortly after dusk Friday. Georgia was scheduled to land about 90 minutes later and in two waves with temperatures hovering in the teens. The two SEC powers will square off Monday night in the College Football Playoff championship game.
UNDATED (AP) — AP College Football Writer Ralph Russo says college football needs a peacemaker. He says the administrators responsible for managing the College Football Playoff appear to be at an impasse when it comes to expansion. Nobody is against expanding the current field of four, but they now seem to be entrenched in opposing positions regarding how and when. The CFP’s management committee is scheduled to meet in Indianapolis this weekend to discuss a new format for deciding a champion. Russo says someone needs to have the authority to build consensus among the group.
UNDATED (AP) — Alabama and Georgia didn’t dip as heavily into the transfer portal as some other college football programs. But both landed some key pickups for their runs to the national championship showdown in Indianapolis. The top-ranked Crimson Tide have All-American wide receiver Jameson Williams and middle linebacker Henry To’oTo’o. Williams is one of the nation’s top deep threats while To’oTo’o is the Tide’s leading tackler and a defensive signal caller. The third-ranked Bulldogs helped fortify their depleted secondary with former Clemson standout Derion Kendrick, the Orange Bowl’s defensive MVP.
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Men’s and women’s basketball coaches across the country are coping with the challenge of physical conditioning that comes with COVID-19 pauses. After a program is down because of virus protocols, it’s about players getting back into “game shape” after an abrupt halt to the schedule. They also must avoid injuries from pushing too hard too quickly. No. 2 Duke, No. 5 UCLA and Florida are among teams on the men’s side. No. 11 UConn also faces that test as the Huskies return this weekend from a roughly three-week stoppage.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida guard Lavender Briggs, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, will miss the remainder of the season because of a stress fracture in her left shin. Interim coach Kelly Rae Finley says she is “saddened for Lavender after seeing all the work she put in to come back this season.” Briggs missed the final eight games of the 2020-21 season because of a left foot injury. She averaged 12.5 points and 5.6 rebounds this season, both down from a year ago. The junior from Utah is 39 points shy of becoming the 27th member of Florida’s 1,000-point club.
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