A year ago, Alabama was the preseason No. 1 team in The Associated Press college football poll and Florida State was No. 11. When the season was over, Alabama was No. 7 and Florida State was the national champion. Keep that in mind as you peruse the 2014 preseason poll released Sunday. The Seminoles start at No. 1, but a preseason No. 1 hasn't finished as No. 1 since USC in 2004. In fact, the past four preseason No. 1's finished far from the top — Alabama at No. 7 last season, USC unranked in 2012, Oklahoma at No. 16 in 2011 and Alabama at No. 10 in 2010. Florida State received 57 of 60 first-place votes from the panel of media members, so the voters overwhelmingly like the Seminoles. Let's see where we stand in January. ... The American Athletic Conference was shut out of the top 25, but UCF (94) and Cincinnati (15) did receive votes. Other UConn opponents to receive votes: Boise State (10) and BYU (8).
•As the Connecticut Open began in New Haven, Cincinnati's professional tennis event was concluding with two marquee names securing titles. Roger Federer won the tournament for the sixth time, defeating David Ferrer in four sets as they tune up for the U.S. Open. Serena Williams won the event for the first time with a straight-set victory over Ana Ivanovic. One takeaway that bears watching in New Haven: Caroline Wozniacki is playing well, losing in the semifinals (2-6, 6-2, 6-4) to Williams. The four-time New Haven winner, who is training for the New York Marathon, is hungry for a title. Remember, she's won 26 of 28 matches in Connecticut. Wozniacki plays her first match Monday night (7 p.m.) against Timea Bacsinszky. … The Connecticut Sun ended their season with an 84-55 win over Atlanta, but they finished 13-21 and will be on the outside of the playoffs for the second year in a row. The focus at the Mohegan Sun shifts to the WNBA draft.
•After losing five in row, the Yankees have won two consecutive games. On Sunday, Hiroki Kuroda pitched into the seventh and the Yankees beat the Rays 4-2 to stay within seven games of the first-place Orioles in the AL East. They're also 3 1/2 games off the lead in the wild card race, so they need to reel off some wins. With the lowly Astros (52-73) in the Bronx this week, this is a good time to start. … Of course, the Astros carry momentum into Yankee Stadium after pounding the Red Sox on Sunday. Joe Kelly allowed seven runs in four innings as the Red Sox split their four-game series with the Astros. Highlight of the day for Fenway fans: Matthew McConaughey sat in the second row along the left field line. With his team holding a comfortable lead, the Astros fan stayed through the top of the ninth and graciously shook hands with fans as he left Fenway. All right, all right, all right.