Jan. 10 Sports Briefs

By: 
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Olympics: Russians absence to benefit
Norway, Germany

TOKYO (AP) — It's still unclear how many Russian athletes will compete next month in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, but a few things seem certain.

Athletes from winter powers like Germany and Norway could pick up unexpected medals with some top Russians absent because a massive doping scheme four years ago at the Sochi Games.

One medal forecast for Pyeongchang, compiled by Gracenote Sports, which refers to itself as a "sports and entertainment provider," shows the impact if Russian athletes are missing.

Gracenote released its medal-table projection on Wednesday, this time removing all Russians from the calculation. The U.S.-based company said it would release a final prediction just before the Olympics open on Feb. 9, this time including Russians who are known to be eligible and who will compete under the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia" or OAR.

 

National championship game
drew huge TV audience

ATLANTA (AP) — The national championship showdown between Alabama and Georgia drew 28.443 million viewers for ESPN, making it the second-most watched title game in the four years of the College Football Playoff format.

Alabama beat Georgia in overtime , rallying from 13 points down in the second half before winning with a game-ending touchdown pass . Viewership for the all-Southeastern Conference matchup on Monday night in Atlanta was up 13 percent from last season's Clemson-Alabama rematch from the season before, ESPN said Tuesday.

ESPN said the audience peaked late in the first half at around 30 million viewers and more than 28.4 million were watching when the winning touchdown was scored.

 

Multiple states expected to
legalize sports betting

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A new report predicts 18 states will introduce bills to regulate sports betting this year, with 11 having a good chance of passing legislation.

Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, which tracks gambling legislation nationwide, says that's just the minimum; the firm predicts more than 30 states could introduce sports betting bills.

The U.S. Supreme Court this year will decide a case brought by New Jersey that seeks to overturn a ban on sports betting in all but four states: Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon. A favorable ruling in that case could open the floodgates in terms of states adopting a new form of gambling.

 

Gruden returns to Raiders
after 16-year absence

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Jon Gruden finally decided the time was right to finish what he nearly achieved in his first stint in Oakland and deliver another Super Bowl title to the Raiders.

Nearly 16 years after he was traded to Tampa Bay following a crushing loss in the "Tuck Rule" game in New England and after a six-year courtship by Raiders owner Mark Davis, Gruden is officially back in Oakland where he started his head coaching career 20 years ago.

Gruden was introduced in front of a large crowd that included nearly 50 former Raiders and nine Pro Football Hall of Famers as the coach Davis believes can carry Derek Carr and the Raiders back to the top.

The Raiders nearly got there in Gruden's first stint from 1998-2001 but the team lost to Baltimore in the 2000 AFC title game and followed that with the memorable loss in the snow against the Patriots that still haunts the franchise.

Gruden was then traded to Tampa Bay the following month for four draft picks and $8 million. He beat Oakland in the Super Bowl the next season but always identified with the Raiders.

"For my career to end that night in New England, it still ticks me off," Gruden said. "I'm so thrilled to be back here. I hope people understand the emotion inside. I feel there's unfinished business. I also feel a lot of loyalty and I feel a lot of responsibility to get the Raiders going again. It's been a while since we consistently performed at a high level. That's all I care about."

 

NHL: Flames burn Minnesota
3-2 in overtime

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Dougie Hamilton scored 2:39 into overtime to lift Calgary to its season-high fourth straight win 3-2 over Minnesota in overtime on Wednesday.

Micheal Ferland and Sean Monahan each had a goal and an assist and Johnny Gaudreau added three assists in the opener of a four-game trip for the Flames. Mike Smith made 33 saves.

Mikael Granlund and Jared Spurgeon scored for Minnesota, which lost for just the third time in its last 14 home games — two of which were in overtime.

After Smith stopped Ryan Suter on a breakaway, Gaudreau outraced Jason Zucker to the puck going the other way. Gaudreau waited and fed Hamilton for a one-timer.

 

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