Those insufferable SEC football fans become even more empowered when Alabama beats LSU 21-0 in an all-SEC BCS title game. It’s the conference’s sixth consecutive national championship and the second in three years for Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide, truly the dominant program in the sport. The game itself is a stinker, with LSU incapable of moving against Courtney Upshaw, Dont’a Hightower and Bama’s impregnable defense. Tailback Trent Richardson scores the only touchdown.
■ Joe Paterno dies of lung cancer, at age 85. It’s the end of a tragic story for a coach who won 409 games for Penn State but whose legacy will forever be tarnished by the child sex-abuse scandal involving his longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
■ The Texans’ first playoff trip ends with an AFC semifinal loss to the Ravens in Baltimore. It’s third-string T.J. Yates, not Matt Schaub or Matt Leinart, quarterbacking Houston.
■ Novak Djokovic outlasts Rafael Nadal to win the Australian Open men’s singles title in 5 hours, 53 minutes, the longest Grand Slam final ever.