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ESPN Poll: Coaches Favor 8-Team Playoff


Football Texture/iStockphoto(NEW YORK) -- According to a poll conducted by ESPN, FBS coaches rather have an eight-team playoff rather than the current four-team format.

The poll, which 103 of the 128 FBS coaches voted in, showed 44 percent prefer an eight-team playoff, 29 percent are happy with the current four-team playoff and 17 percent want a 16-team playoff.

Most off the coaches who voted for an eight-team playoff think that system should be comprised of the conference champions from each of the Power 5 conferences as well as either the top-ranked team from the Power 5 and the two-highest ranked at-large teams, or just the three-highest ranked at-large teams.

ACC commissioner John Swofford said earlier in the week that an eight-team playoff would probably be ideal.

"You have four teams that get a chance to play for the national championship, which is twice as many as before," Swofford said. "But whoever's fifth or sixth is not going to be happy. There will be some (Power 5) conferences that won't have a team in the playoff."

There was one coach who voted fo a 64-team playoff.

 

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Tickets Are Free to Bills-Jets Game in Detroit


Scott Boehm/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Tickets are free to Monday night's game at Ford Field in Detroit between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills.

Tickets became available to season-ticket holders Friday, and opened up to the general public Saturday. To get the tickets you must go to the Detroit Lions' website or show up at Ford Field Sunday or Monday before the 7 p.m ET kick-off. The tickets are first come, first serve.

The game was orginally suppossed to be played at Ralph Wilson Staduim in Buffalo, but severe snow storms forced the change of venue.

"We are pleased to be hosting the Bills and Jets for their game Monday night," Lions president Tom Lewand said. "While our thoughts are with the people of the Buffalo area during this difficult time, our team at Ford Field will do everything we can to be good hosts to their team this weekend."

Ford Field also hosted the New York Giants-Minnesota Vikings game in 2010, when the game had to be moved from Minneapolis because the Metrodome roof caved in. Tickets to that game were also free.

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Kobe Bryant Defends his Contract, says Players shouldn't take Discounts


Chris Graythen/Getty Images(DALLAS) -- With the losses piling up for the Los Angeles Lakers, many wonder why Kobe Bryant didn't take a pay cut in order to help the team assemble a better roster. According to Bryant, he shouldn't have to do that.

The 36-year-old Bryant signed a two-year extension with the Lakers prior to the start of last season worth $48.5 million. Even though some players like Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki have agreed to below market value salaries for the good of the team, Bryant isn't going for it.

"It's the popular thing to do," Bryant said. "The player takes less, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I think it's a big coup for the owners to put players in situations where public perception puts pressure on them to take less money. Because if you don't, then you get criticized for it.

"So did I take a discount? Yeah. Did I take as big a discount as some of you fans would want me to? No. Is it a big enough discount to help us be a contender? Yeah. So what we try to do is be in a situation where they take care of the player and the player takes care of the organization enough to put us in a championship predicament eventually."

Heading into Saturday, the Lakers have the second-worst record in the Western Conference. Nowitzki's Mavericks have third-best record in the West while Duncan's Spurs won the NBA title last season.

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Jay Gruden Puts the Pressure on Robert Griffin III


Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Jay Gruden's first year as the head coach of the Washington Redskins isn't going as smoothly as he had hoped, and now he's speaking out against his quarterback, Robert Griffin III.

In four starts this season, Griffin has yet to resemble the same player who electrified the NFL during his rookie year in 2012 as he's dealt with various injuries and ineffectiveness.

The Redskins won the NFC East in 2012, but have gone just 6-20 since. Gruden is putting the heat on Griffin to step up and perform like the player the franchise drafted him to be.

"He's auditioned long enough," Gruden told NFL.com. "Clock's ticking. He's gotta play.

"We'll see. ... We want Robert to excel, we really do. But the last two games, it hasn't been very good, anywhere. We gotta play better around him. And the biggest thing for us as playcallers, and for him, we just have to come together and jell with plays he's comfortable with. That takes time. But we don't have a lot of time."

Griffin has thrown just two touchdown this season to go along with four turnovers.

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Bulls Forward Taj Gibson Suffers Sprained Ankle


NBA via Chicago Bulls(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- The Chicago Bulls have to deal with another injured player as power forward Taj Gibson is out with a sprained ankle.

Midway through the third quarter of the team's game against the Portland Trail Blazers, and have to be carried off the floor by a pair of teammates.

X-rays wound up coming back negative, which is good news considering Gibson has dealt with issues in that same ankle in the past.

"It's the same lingering injury," Gibson said. "Just keep trying to play through it, trying to be there for my teammates. Just push through. All summer I was trying to rehab the same ankle and it just keeps flaring up. I keep having these little bum ankle turns. And I just took some time off from it and tried to rush back and this thing happened again. I'm just frustrated."

The 29-year-old Gibson is a key reserve for the Bulls. In 12 games this season, he's averaging 12.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

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Scoreboard Roundup - 11/21/14


Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NBA: Phoenix Suns 122 (8-5) - Philadelphia 76ers 96 (0-12)

Orlando Magic 105 (6-8) - Charlotte Hornets 100 (4-9)

Atlanta Hawks 99 (5-5) - Detroit Pistons 89 (3-9)

Toronto Raptors 124 (10-2) - Milwaukee Bucks 83 (7-6)

Memphis Grizzlies 117 (11-2) - Boston Celtics 100 (4-7)

San Antonio Spurs 121 (8-4) - Minnesota Timberwolves 92 (3-8)

Washington Wizards 91 (8-3) - Cleveland Cavaliers 78 (5-6)

Brooklyn Nets 94 (5-7) - Oklahoma City Thunder 92 (3-11)

Dallas Mavericks 140 (10-3) - Los Angeles Lakers 106 (3-10)

Denver Nuggets 117 (5-7) - New Orleans Pelicans 97 (6-5)

Golden State Warriors 101 (9-2) - Utah Jazz 88 (5-8)

Portland Trail Blazers 105 (9-3) - Chicago Bulls 87 (8-5)

NHL: New York Islanders 5 (12-6-0, 24pts) - Pittsburgh Penguins 4 (13-3-1, 27pts) - SO

Boston Bruins 4 (13-8-0, 26pts) - Blue Jackets 3 (6-12-2, 14pts) - SO

New Jersey Devils 2 (9-9-2, 20pts) - Edmonton Oilers 0 (6-12-2, 14pts)

Top 25 College Basketball: (1) Kentucky 89 (4-0) - Boston University 65 (1-2)

(4) Duke 74 (4-0) - Temple 54 (2-1)

(7) Louisville 85 (3-0) - Marshall 67 (3-1)

(8) Florida 61 (2-1) - UL Monroe 56 (2-1) - OT

(9) Virginia 59 (4-0) - George Washington 42 (2-1)

(10) Texas 71 (4-0) - California 55 (3-1)

(17) Connecticut 75 (3-0) - Dayton 64 (2-1)

(19) Michigan State 87 (2-1) - Loyola 52 (2-1)

(23) Syracuse 66 (3-1) - Iowa 63 (2-2)

(25) Utah 88 (2-1) UC Riverside 42 (1-2)

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Kevin Martin Out Indefinitely with Fractured Wrist


National Basketball Association(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Minnesota Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin is out indefinitely with a right wrist fracture, the team announced Friday.

Martin fractured the wrist on his shooting hand when he was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer during the first quarter of the Timberwolves' 115-99 win over the New York Knicks Thursday. Despite the injury, Martin played the entire game scoring 37 points.

Martin joins a growing list of injured T-Wolves that includes Ricky Rubio (ankle) and Nikola Pekovic (wrist).

The 31-year-old Martin has played in nine games for Minnesota this season averaging 20.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per contest.

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Stars Sign Spezza to 4-Year Extension


Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill announced Friday that the team has signed center Jason Spezza to a four-year contract extension.

According to ESPN.com, the deal is worth an average of $7.5 million per season and comes with a no-trade clause.

"Jason is a world-class player and his commitment to the organization is a reflection of what we are building in Dallas," Nill said in a release. "The professionalism and production he brings to our group is key for our success moving forward and we value the leadership he brings to our team."

The 31-year-old Spezza was traded to Dallas from Ottawa during the summer. He played his first 11 seasons with Ottawa where he was named an All Star two times while tallying 687 points in 686 regular season games.

Spezza also helped the Senators reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2007 and has 52 points in 56 postseason appearances.

In 20 games with Dallas this season, Spezza has four goals and 14 assists.

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Blue Jackets' Jack Johnson Files for Bankruptcy, Claims Parents Are Responsible


Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Despite over $30 million in earnings during his career, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, claiming his parents are responsible for his financial troubles.

According to a report from the Columbus Dispatch, prior to signing a seven-year, $30.5 million deal in 2011, Johnson granted power of attorney to his mother, and gave her full control of his finances.

Johnson claims his mother, Tina Johnson, purchased a house in Manhattan Beach, California with his money but he never had knowledge of the transaction. Johnson also alleges his parents borrowed $15 million against his future earnings. Many of the loans carried high interest rates.

"I'd say I picked the wrong people who led me down the wrong path," Johnson told The Dispatch last week. "I've got people in place who are going to fix everything now. It's something I should have done a long time ago."

ESPN.com reports that documents were filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District Court of Ohio that show that Johnson has very little left of the millions he's made during his career, and his future earnings are compromised because of debt and interest rates.

The 27-year-old Johnson was a first round pick in 2005 and has three years left on his current deal.

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Vikings' Adrian Peterson Admits a Change of Scenary May Be Best


Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Since 2007, running back Adrian Peterson has been the face of the Minnesota Vikings franchise, but after a recent child abuse scandal, Peterson knows it might be best to move on.

In a recent interview with USA Today, Peterson said “maybe it’s best for me to get a fresh start somewhere else.”

"I would love to go back and play in Minnesota to get a feel and just see if my family still feels comfortable there,” Peterson said. “But if there’s word out that hey, they might release me, then so be it. I would feel good knowing that I’ve given everything I had in me.”

Back in September, Peterson was indicted on a felony charge of injury to a child after he used a wooden switch to discipline his 4-year-old son earlier this year. He pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of misdemeanor reckless assault earlier this month.

Earlier this week, the NFL suspended Peterson for the rest of the season. He had missed the previous nine games after being placed on the commissioner's exempt list. 

Now in his eighth NFL season, Peterson has rushed for 10,190 yards during his career.
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