Alabama teammates Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith along with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Florida’s Kyle Trask have been named finalists for the Heisman Trophy.
The Heisman will be awarded Jan. 5 during a virtual ceremony. The coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the usual trip to New York for the trophy presentation that comes with being a finalist.
Jones and Smith are the eighth set of teammates to be finalists together since the tradition started in 1982. Smith is trying to become the first wide receiver to win the Heisman since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991.
If it isn’t Smith, who leads the nation in receptions (98) and receiving yards (1,511), the winner will be a quarterback for the 13th time in the last 15 years.
The top-ranked Crimson Tide will play No. 4 Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff semifinals on Jan. 1.
TORONTO (AP) — The NHL believes all seven Canadian teams will be able to start the season playing in their home arenas.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the league believes it is clear to play in Canada during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic after discussions with the five provincial governments that have NHL teams to try to gain approval to start Jan. 13.
“On the basis of our discussions in the past week, as well as our exchange of correspondence over the last 24 hours, we believe we are aligned and in agreement on the conditions on which each of our Canadian franchises can begin play in their own buildings,” Daly said.
The NHL realigned its divisions for the season so that the North Division — which features all seven Canadian teams — would not have to cross the U.S.-Canada border, which remains closed to non-essential travel until at least Jan. 21.
Detroit Lions interim coach Darrell Bevell is the NFL’s first head coach to miss a game because of COVID-19 protocols even though he has not tested positive for the coronavirus.
“It’s kind of the times that we’re living in right now,” Bevell lamented.
The Lions (5-9) will also be without defensive coordinator Cory Undlin, defensive line coach Bo Davis, defensive backs coach Steve Gregory and linebackers coach Ty McKenzie against Tampa Bay (9-5) on Saturday.
Wide receivers coach Robert Prince will be Detroit’s third head coach this season at Ford Field against the Buccaneers, who are a win away from clinching a postseason berth. Bevell was 1-2 after Matt Patricia was fired last month.
In another key game this weekend, the Browns may have to try and secure a playoff spot — their first since 2002 — on Sunday in New York without starting rookie left tackle Jedrick Wills, who was placed on the COVID-19 list Thursday.
It’s the latest issue on Cleveland’s line, which is already missing starting right guard Wyatt Teller (ankle) and lost the versatile Chris Hubbard after he suffered a season-ending knee injury against the New York Giants. Rookie Nick Harris is filling in for Teller.
SUNDERLAND, England (AP) — Sunderland reached an agreement with Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, whose family previously owned French team Marseille, to take control of the third-tier English club.
Louis-Dreyfus, who is in his early 20s, will become chairman of the League One team “early in the New Year,” subject to approval from the English Football League, Sunderland said.
“Documentation relating to the deal has been lodged today with the EFL for their scrutiny, and the club recognizes that the EFL need to approve all aspects of the transaction and business plan going forward before any change of control,” the club said. “Given the time of year, that process is not expected to conclude until mid-January.”
Louis-Dreyfus’ family founded the Swiss-based Louis-Dreyfus group in the 19th century and owned Marseille for almost 20 years before selling the club in 2016.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Josh Bell is heading to the Washington Nationals.
The Pittsburgh Pirates traded the slugging first baseman to Washington for pitching prospects Will Crowe and Eddy Yean.
The 28-year-old Bell was an All-Star in 2019 following a torrid first half in which he hit .302 with 27 home runs and 84 RBIs. That form has been elusive over the last year-plus. Bell hit .233 with 10 home runs during an injury-shortened second half of 2019 and hit just eight homers while batting a career-low .233 in 57 games for the Pirates in 2020. Pittsburgh finished 19-41, the worst record in the majors.
Bell believed he could be the cornerstone for Pittsburgh as the Pirates looked to retool under general manager Ben Cherington and manager Derek Shelton, both of whom came aboard following the team’s disastrous second-half collapse in 2019 that led to a top-to-bottom revamp in the organization.