Sports, December 28th


FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – Troy Calhoun has exceeded some people’s expectations as Air Force’s coach.
After becoming the first academy graduate to become the Falcons head coach, the team was coming off three consecutive losing seasons. He was told by some it’d be an accomplishment to get to one bowl over the next five years. Well, Air Force (6-6) will makes its school-record sixth consecutive bowl appearance on Saturday, against Rice (6-6) in the Armed Forces Bowl. Like Rice, which had to win its last four games just to be bowl eligible, the Falcons want to finish with a winning record.


Denver–The AFC West Champion Denver Broncos can secure a first round bye in the playoffs with a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday in the regular season finale. The Broncos are heavy favorites at home. Kick off is set for 2:20 with the pre-game coverage beginning at noon on KMTS.


The Denver Nuggets are on the road tonight and tomorrow. Tonight they take on the Mavericks in Dallas then travel to Memphis on Saturday for a battle with the Grizzlies.

Elsewhere in sports…

UNDATED (AP) – Assistant P.J. Carlesimo (kar-LIHS’-ih-moh) is the Nets interim coach for tonight’s game against visiting Charlotte. He’s replacing Avery Johnson, who got the boot yesterday after two-plus seasons on the job. After a fast start, Brooklyn has dropped 10 of 13 and is 14-14 in the franchise’s first year back in New York. The Bobcats also got off to a fast start but have lost 16 in a row and are 7-21 overall.

After beating Boston 106-77, the L.A. Clippers ride a 15-game winning streak into their outing at Utah. The Clips are a league-best 23-6 following last night’s home victory over Boston.

Also this evening, Miami puts its six-game winning streak on the line at Detroit. The Heat will be without star guard Dwyane (dwayn) Wade, who’s been suspended for this game by the NBA for flailing his leg and making contact with the groin of Charlotte’s Ramon Sessions earlier this week.

San Antonio brings a three-game winning streak into its home game against a Houston club that’s won five straight, Indiana is home to Phoenix and gunning for a fourth straight “W,” Washington will be looking to end an eight-game skid when it hosts Orlando, Atlanta plays at Cleveland, New Orleans entertains Toronto, Denver is at Dallas, Golden State is home to Philadelphia, Portland plays the Lakers in L.A. and East leader New York visits Sacramento.


Three Top 25 teams preparing for action

UNDATED (AP) – Former No. 1 Indiana returns to the court tonight in search of a third straight win following its only loss of the season. The fifth-ranked Hoosiers are 11-1 headed into their home game against 5-7 Jacksonville.

Also this evening, No. 7 Missouri will be chasing a seventh straight win when it plays at UCLA. The Tigers are 10-1. The Bruins are 9-3.

And 13th-ranked Gonzaga brings an 11-1 record and modest two-game winning streak into its home game against Baylor. The Bears are 8-3.


Three more bowl games today

UNDATED (AP) – The first of today’s three college football bowl games will be played in Shreveport, La. The Independence Bowl pits Louisiana-Monroe against Ohio in a matchup of 8-4 teams.

Louisiana-Monroe is playing a postseason game for the first time since moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1994. The Warhawks haven’t won nine games in a season since 1993. Ohio is in a bowl game for the fourth straight season and trying to win nine games for the third time in four years.

Rutgers and Virginia Tech will play in the Russell Athletic Bowl later today in Orlando.

Rutgers has won five consecutive bowl games and is making its eighth bowl appearance. The Scarlet Knights are looking to shake off the disappointment of missing out on a BCS berth, and are also hoping to notch their first 10-win season since 2006.

Virginia Tech is looking to end its 2012 season on a high note after stumbling to its first single-digit win season since 2003. Still, the Hokies are making their 20th consecutive bowl appearance, joining only Florida State and Florida as teams to do that.

Today’s gridiron action ends in Houston, with 7-5 Texas Tech taking on 6-6 Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston.

The Red Raiders return to a bowl after having their 18-season bowl streak snapped last year. They want to end the season on a high note after a tumultuous month in which coach Tommy Tuberville (TUH’-bur-vihl) left for Cincinnati. Texas Tech hired Kliff Kingsbury, but will be led by interim coach Chris Thomsen in the bowl. Minnesota is in a bowl for the first time since 2009. The Gophers are looking for their first bowl win since 2004.