Sports

Missouri, W.Va. win away from BCS title game

NEW YORK -- Missouri and West Virginia have one more step to take before bumping into each other in New Orleans.

The Tigers and Mountaineers hold the top two spots in the Bowl Championship Series standings released Sunday with a week left in a topsy-turvy regular season.

The Tigers play Oklahoma (10-2) in the Big 12 championship game at San Antonio on Saturday and the Mountaineers face rival Pittsburgh (4-7) at home. If both win, it'll be Missouri-West Virginia in a most unlikely BCS championship game Jan. 7 at the Superdome.

A month ago, neither team was even in the top five of the BCS standings, but a string of upsets have left Chase Daniel and the Tigers and Pat White and the Mountaineers in control of their own destinies.

If either Missouri (11-1) or West Virginia (10-1) trip up next week, third-place Ohio State (11-1) is poised to take advantage and play in its second straight title game.

If the Tigers and Mountaineers both lose, the national title picture gets very murky.

Georgia was fourth in the standings, followed by Kansas (11-1). Neither will play in their conference title games, but both still have a shot to play for a national championship.

Georgia (10-2) could become the first team with two losses to play for a national title and several other two-loss teams could make a claim to be in the championship game if the top two lose for a second consecutive week.

Sixth-place Virginia Tech (10-2), seventh-place LSU (10-2), eighth-place Southern California (9-2) and ninth-place Oklahoma all have one last opportunity to surge up the BCS standings on Saturday.

• Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, who rushed, passed and led the Razorbacks in an upset of LSU, has been named the Walter Camp national offensive player of the week.

McFadden, a junior from Little Rock, rushed for 206 yards and three touchdowns and completed three of six passes, including one for a touchdown. He took more than 30 snaps for the Razorbacks in their 50-48 overtime win over LSU.

• PRO GOLF -- Stephen Ames started well and finished even better.

Ames, who won the first hole of the LG Skins Game a day earlier and hadn't won another since, sank a 7-foot birdie putt worth $650,000 on No. 18.

Taking the title for the second year in a row, he finished with nine skins and $675,000 of the $1 million purse.

Five-time champion Fred Couples, playing in the 25-year-old tournament for the 14th time, also won nine skins, pocketing $325,000 to push his career earnings in the made-for-TV event to more than $4.2 million.

Zach Johnson and Brett Wetterich, both playing in their first Skins Game, were shut out.

Ames, whose birdie on the opening hole of the tournament was worth $25,000, didn't play particularly well again until the 18th. He stuck his 9-iron from 142 yards out close enough to the pin for a good birdie chance, then watched the other three miss their considerably longer putts.

• SOCCER -- The United States will play its first World Cup qualifier next June against the winner of an opening-round series between Barbados and Dominica and could face Cuba in its regional semifinals group.

The Americans have an automatic bye into the CONCACAF Group One second round for the 2010 World Cup, which will be played in South Africa.

Also receiving byes to the second round in the Americans' semifinal group are Cuba, Guatemala, and Trinidad and Tobago.

• A section of stands at a soccer stadium in northeastern Brazil gave way Sunday as fans cheered at the end of a game, killing eight people, police said.

At least nine people fell through a section of the highest bleachers at the Fonte Nova stadium in the coastal city of Salvador, and eight of them died, said Maj. Edmilson Tavares of the city's federal police.

Television images showed what appeared to be a hole in the bleachers.

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