Sports

Clemson plays at home 4 straight Saturdays in Sept.

CLEMSON -- Clemson will open and close the 2008 season with Southeastern Conference teams and play four of its first five games of the year at Death Valley.

The Tigers open the season at the Georgia Dome against Alabama on Aug. 30.

Clemson's home opener is Sept. 6 against The Citadel. The Tigers then have three more home games in a row against North Carolina State (Sept. 13); South Carolina State (Sept. 20); and Maryland (Sept. 27).

It's the first time Clemson has played at home four Saturdays in a row since 1989.

The Tigers only Thursday night game of the season comes Oct. 9 at Wake Forest.

Clemson hosts Georgia Tech Oct. 18, then plays three of its next four on the road: at Boston College (Nov. 1); at Florida State (Nov. 8); against Duke (Nov. 15); and at Virginia (Nov. 22).

The Tigers end the regular season hosting bitter rival South Carolina on Nov. 29.

"This is an outstanding schedule," Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said. "We do play three of our final four ACC games on the road, which will certainly be a challenge."

• COLLEGE FOOTBALL -- Penn State receiver Chris Bell and defensive tackle Phillip Taylor were suspended from the team, the latest players facing disciplinary issues in a turbulent year off the field for the Nittany Lions.

Bell and Taylor are "not participating with the team until such time that their academic situation improves and any off-the-field issues are behind them," the athletic department said Friday.

The sophomores were mentioned but not charged in a criminal complaint last year concerning a fight during a fraternity party at the student union. Authorities said one man was beat up and treated at the scene.

Two other players are awaiting trial on felony assault and other charges in the Oct. 7 fight. Defensive tackle Chris Baker and backup linebacker Navorro Bowman were kicked off the team last month, at least temporarily.

• Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, who built his coaching reputation as a play-caller while helping the New England Patriots win three Super Bowls, won't be calling plays for the Fighting Irish next season.

Offensive coordinator Mike Haywood will call plays so Weis, coming off a dismal 3-9 season, can concentrate on his duties as head coach.

Weis decided to move away from play-calling after meeting with his old boss, Bill Belichick, before the Patriots played the New York Giants in the regular-season finale Dec. 29. Weis said he talked more with Belichick about how to be a better coach than about X's and O's. He also consulted with others, but said he was already leaning toward delegating the play-calling.

• AUTO RACING -- The latest merger discussions between Indy Racing League and the rival Champ Car World Series have apparently ended in yet another failure.

Or have they?

After information leaked Thursday that the rival open-wheel series were close to unification, with a snag over race dates the biggest hurdle, Champ Car co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven was irate.

The story originally was reported by speedtv.com.

IRL founder Tony George has offered Champ Car teams free Dallara chassis and Honda engines, along with the $1.2 million in incentives it is paying each of its own teams to race in the IndyCar Series in 2008, IRL spokesman John Griffin said.

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