Thursday Sports Day – Get Ready For Fireworks at Fiesta Bowl

GLENDALE, Calif. (AP) — College football’s never-ending bowl schedule continues tonight with the Fiesta Bowl. It features two teams that were in the national championship discussion before each suffered a late-season loss.

Fifth-ranked Oregon meets No. 7 Kansas State in a meeting of 11-1 clubs.

The Wildcats and Ducks are both in the top 5 of the BCS standings and have two of the nation’s most dynamic offenses, setting up what should be a second straight marquee Fiesta Bowl. Oklahoma State outlasted Stanford 41-38 in overtime last year.

It is a matchup of Oregon’s speed and Kansas State’s power. The Ducks play at a pace like few teams in college football and often score quickly with 44 of their 80 TD drives this season coming in two minutes or less. That includes 22 in 60 seconds or less. The Wildcats are a bit more methodical and will need to use their ball-possession ways to keep the ball away from Oregon’s offense.

K-State features dual-threat quarterback Colin Klein. The Heisman Trophy finalist threw for 2,490 yards and rushed for 890 more while accounting for 37 TDs.

Oregon running back Kenjon Barner is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. Barner ran for 1,624 yards and 21 TDs, combining with DeAnthony Thomas to give the Ducks one of the most explosive running back tandems in college football.

Irish and Tide roll into Sunshine State

Top-ranked Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama are in Florida and continuing preparations for Monday night’s BCS championship game. Both teams arrived in Fort Lauderdale yesterday afternoon for a matchup that was set more than a month ago.

It’s a return home for Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban. He coached the Miami Dolphins before famously saying toward the end of his tenure in South Florida that he wasn’t “going to be the Alabama coach.”

He was hired by the Tide not long afterward.

Light night on NBA hardwood

UNDATED (AP) — The NBA once again offers up a limited Thursday schedule with just two games to be contested.

The action gets under way with a matchup of division leaders. The Atlantic-leading New York Knicks will host Southwest leader San Antonio. The Spurs ride a seven-game winning streak into the Big Apple following last night’s win at Milwaukee.

More talks today

NEW YORK (AP) — Hockey players are sticking together as a union for now and are working long and late hours with the NHL to try to reach a new collective bargaining agreement to get the game back on the ice. They’ll be back at it today.

The sides met in small groups throughout the day Wednesday and then held a full-scale bargaining session with a federal mediator at night that lasted nearly five hours and didn’t wrap up until about 1 a.m. Thursday.

They planned to get back at it late this morning.

The biggest detail to emerge from Wednesday night’s marathon talks was that Donald Fehr is still the executive director of the players’ association, which passed on its first chance to declare a disclaimer that would dissolve the union and turn it into a trade association.

Last month, players voted overwhelmingly in favor of giving the union executive board the right to declare the disclaimer, but that permission expired at midnight Wednesday. The disclaimer would allow individual players to file antitrust lawsuits against the NHL.

Officials say there’s been some progress.