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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
GRAPEVINE, Texas ó Here’s a ray of hope for college football fans bummed by the recent rejection of the plus-one model to determine a national champion.
The president of Florida State not only believes a playoff is coming, he thinks it’ll start with four teams, then grow to eight and eventually 16.
“The bottom line is the money, unfortunately, is going to drive the train,” FSU’s T.K. Wetherell said. “The 12th game, right now, is solving the problem. The reason there is a 12th game in football is the money. People may not want to admit that, but that’s the facts of the matter.”
Wetherell’s comments came Friday at the National Football Forum, during a panel discussion of the future of college football. He spoke after the playoff concept was pretty much rejected by Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, Washington coach Ty Willingham, Kansas coach Mark Mangino, TCU coach Gary Patterson, Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White and Army athletic director Kevin Anderson.
“Who is it for?” Willingham asked.
Tressel emphasized scheduling problems that would be taxing for players physically and for their studies.
“If you go to a championship, there’s first and second and that’s it,” Anderson said, a theme Patterson touched on, too, by noting the current system produced 32 bowl winners.
NFL
NEW YORK ó Former New England assistant coach Brian Daboll told the NFL he doesn’t remember speaking with Matt Walsh about the St. Louis Rams’ walkthrough Walsh attended the day before the 2002 Super Bowl.
Even if Daboll and New England’s former video assistant did speak about it, “it would not be a violation of NFL rules,” the league said.
– NEW YORK ó NFL owners could opt out of their agreement with the players union next week, leaving open the possibility of a 2010 season without a salary cap.
– NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó Tennessee Titan lineman Michael Roos signed a new six-year, $43 million deal.
COLLEGE HOOPS
– GRAMBLING, La. ó Rick Duckett, an assistant coach at South Carolina for the last six seasons, is the new men’s head coach at Grambling State University.
Duckett had been as assistant to Dave Odom at South Carolina since 2002.
NBA
PHOENIX ó The Phoenix Suns will interview Houston Rockets assistant Elston Turner as a replacement for former head coach Mike D’Antoni.
– LOS ANGELES ó Dennis Rodman was charged with domestic violence for allegedly hitting his girlfriend at a hotel last month.
NHL
RALEIGH ó The Carolina Hurricanes know their coach will be back next season. They’re still waiting to find out whether two of their aging defensemen will join him.
General manager Jim Rutherford said Friday that the team would retain coach Peter Laviolette, who in 2006 led the Hurricanes to their only Stanley Cup.
TENNIS
HAMBURG, Germany ó Defending champion Roger Federer cruised into the semifinals of the Hamburg Masters by defeating Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-3 on Friday.
Novak Djokovic also made the final four, downing Albert Montanes 6-2, 6-3. Djokovic will face Rafael Nadal, who defeated Carlos Moya, 6-1, 6-3.

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