National Sports Briefs
Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 27, 2011
NEW YORK ó The voters in The Associated Press college football poll are clear on which two teams they believe are the best in the country.
LSU is the unanimous No. 1 for a third consecutive week and Alabama received all the second-place votes for a second straight week.
The SEC West powers are on course for a rematch in the BCS championship game on Jan. 9 in New Orleans.
Oklahoma State moves up to No. 3 on an off week, taking advantage of Arkansas’ tumble from No. 3 to No. 6 after the Razorbacks lost 41-17 at LSU.
Stanford is No. 4, just five points behind Oklahoma State. Virginia Tech is No. 5.
The Chase for the Sprint Cup finale picked up viewers with the tight competition for the championship.
The final race in Homestead, Fla., earned a 4.0 rating on ESPN. The network said Tuesday that was up 18 percent from last year.
Ratings for the Chase on ESPN and ABC increased 14.8 percent from 2010.
Tony Stewart seized his third Cup championship, winning the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and holding off rival Carl Edwards ó good enough to win the title based on his five victories.
MOORESVILLE ó Michael Waltrip Racing will use the No. 55 on the Toyota that will be shared next season by Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip.
The number is associated with sponsor Aaron’s, which was founded in 1955 by Charlie Loudermilk.
CHARLOTTE ó NASCAR has suspended Truck Series driver Jack C. Smith for violating the substance abuse policy.
CHARLOTTE ó Roush Fenway Racing began laying off employees. The team had four Sprint Cup Series teams and three Nationwide Series cars this season. Sponsorship woes likely will lead to scaling back to only one full-time Nationwide car.
LONDON ó Roger Federer held off a resilient Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Sunday for his record sixth ATP World Tour Finals title, winning 6-3, 7-6 (6), 6-3 at the season-ending tournament.
Federer failed to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set, then wasted a match point in the tiebreaker as Tsonga threatened to stage another improbable comeback against the former No. 1.
Tsonga became the first player to rally from a two-set deficit to beat Federer in a Grand Slam tournament in this yearís Wimbledon quarterfinals.