- Associated Press - Saturday, January 2, 2016

DALLAS (AP) - College football’s move to create a new tradition with College Football Playoff semifinal matchups on New Year’s Eve drew ratings more than a third lower than last season, when the matchups were held on New Year’s Day.

The Orange Bowl between Clemson and Oklahoma, which kicked off about 4:10 p.m. EST on ESPN, drew a 9.1 rating, a 38.5 percent drop compared to last year’s Rose Bowl, which got a 14.8 rating. The number of viewers dropped 44.5 percent from 28,164,000 for the Rose to just 15,640,000 for the Orange.

The Michigan State-Alabama Cotton Bowl drew a 9.6 rating for ESPN compared to 15.2 for Ohio State-Alabama in the Sugar Bowl last Jan. 1 - a 36.8 percent drop. Total viewership crashed 34.4 percent, going from 28,271,000 to 18,552,000.

College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock told the AP he was still awaiting the results of the New Year’s Day games.

“It’s just not appropriate to talk until all the results are in. I guess it’s like asking a coach to talk about a whole game at halftime,” he said.

The FBS conference commissioners who put together the College Football Playoff in 2012 said they wanted to create a new tradition by playing the semifinals on New Year’s Eve twice every three years over the course of a 12-year contract with ESPN. This is year two of that deal.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - LSU coach Les Miles has hired Dave Aranda of Wisconsin as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator.

Aranda, whose defenses have ranked among the top 10 in the nation the past three seasons, replaces Kevin Steele, who left for a similar post at Auburn.

Miles, who announced Aranda’s hiring, says LSU saw firsthand how good Aranda’s defenses are when the team opened against one another in 2014.

Aranda’s 2015 defense capped the regular season allowing a nation’s-best 13.1 points per game.

Wisconsin also currently ranks No. 3 in the nation in total defense, allowing 268.5 yards per game.

The Badgers are coming off of a 10-3 season, capped by a 23-21 victory over Southern California in the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh wide receiver Tyler Boyd is headed to the NFL.

Coach Pat Narduzzi announced that Boyd will enter the draft rather than return for his senior season. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Boyd set school records with 254 receptions and 3,361 yards receiving in three years with the Panthers.

Boyd and Narduzzi met Thursday to discuss Boyd’s options. Narduzzi said he reached out to four NFL general managers to gauge Boyd’s prospects.

Boyd became the first player in ACC history to have 1,000-yard receiving seasons as a freshman and a sophomore. He ended his junior season with 92 receptions for 926 yards and six touchdowns. From Clairton, he was a two-time All-ACC first-team selection and figures to be among the top wide receivers available during the draft.


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A frustrated Rick Pitino said the NCAA has not interviewed him about an escort’s book allegations of sex parties at Louisville players’ dormitory and doesn’t believe the scandal will be resolved until summer.

At the end of a news conference previewing Louisville’s Atlantic Coast Conference opener against Wake Forest, the Cardinals coach answered an initial question about whether he made an obscene gesture to Kentucky fans following last week’s loss - he has said he didn’t - before going on an unprompted diatribe about the sex scandal surrounding his program.

Katina Powell has alleged former Louisville staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players. Pitino has denied knowledge of the allegations but said he believes one person did “some scurrilous things.”

Pitino didn’t mention McGee as the person in question.


NEW YORK (AP) - New York’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit asking FanDuel and DraftKings to give back all the money they made in the state, the latest salvo in an ongoing clash with a pair of increasingly popular daily fantasy sports websites.

The amended lawsuit - filed just days before a key court date in the dispute - asks the two companies to return the money to users who lost it during 2015 and pay a fine of up to $5,000 per case.

The sites have said they took in more than $200 million in entry fees from at least 600,000 customers in New York state.

David Boies, an attorney for DraftKings, said in a statement that the lawsuit was “baseless” and “reveals that the attorney general’s office still does not understand fantasy sports.” A spokesman for FanDuel declined to comment.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asserts that the companies are operating an illegal gambling operation within New York. He first filed a lawsuit in November and was granted a temporary injunction on Dec. 11 to stop FanDuel and DraftKings from operating within the state, but that decision was reversed hours later by an appellate court.

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