MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
College football: Music City Bowl, NC State vs. Vanderbilt, noon (ESPN)
College football: Sun Bowl, USC vs. Georgia Tech, 2 p.m. (CBS)
College football: Liberty Bowl, Iowa State  vs. Tulsa, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Chick-fil-A Bowl, LSU vs. Clemson, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
College basketball : Dartmouth at Boston College , 2 p.m. (WEEI-AM)
College basketball: Harvard at St. Mary’s, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, noon (ESPN2)
College basketball: Michigan State  at Minnesota, 2 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Central Connecticut at Syracuse, 3 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Indiana at Iowa, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: UNC Greensboro at NC State, 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Gonzaga at Oklahoma State, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: New Mexico at Saint Louis, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: North Texas at Middle Tennessee, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
AROUND THE WEB:
‘¦ The Jets plan to fire offensive coordinator Tony Sparano  following the team’s dismal offensive performance this season, according to an ESPN report . Sparano was hired last offseason after being fired as head coach of the Dolphins, but the Jets finished 30th in total offense and were unable to produce much from the wildcat package Sparano had success with in Miami.
Of course, part of the offense’s troubles can be traced to the quarterback position, where Mark Sanchez  struggled and neither Greg McElroy  nor Tim Tebow  showed much in limited action. Sanchez returned to his starting role for Sunday’s finale against the Bills due to McElroy’s concussion, and he continued to cough up the ball, turning it over twice (one interception, one fumble) in New York’s 28-9 loss.
“This game was a microcosm right here of everything we’ve done this year,” linebacker Calvin Pace  said  after the Jets fell to 6-10. “I know those guys [on offense] are trying. It’s one of those things, man, when you’re dealing with professional football and the best of the best, trying isn’t good enough — trying will get everybody fired.”
Said coach Rex Ryan : “The future is going to be addressed at a different time. … Six wins isn’t up to anybody’s expectations, for this team and certainly not mine.”
‘¦ Outfielder Torii Hunter , who recently left the Angels to sign with the Tigers as a free agent, is getting some attention for a comment he made in a weekend Los Angeles Times story  on gay athletes.
Asked how a homosexual teammate would be treated in the locker room, Hunter made it clear he would have an issue.
“For me, as a Christian ‘¦ I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it’s not right,” he says. “It will be difficult and uncomfortable.”
Added Clippers guard Grant Hill : “It’s still taboo in the locker room.”
‘¦ Rockets rookie Royce White, who has not played a game this season, refused an assignment to the D-League and made it clear he remains far apart with the team  on a plan to deal with his anxiety disorder.
“I do wish to play, but I only intend to do so with the collaboration and recommendation of trained professionals,” White said a statement released Sunday. “The purpose of a doctor’s confirmation is to ensure that health decisions are made in the sole interest of health and not conflicted with business. My only hope is that decision-makers involved realize that doctors are the only logical source to decide action.
“There is an admitted lack of knowledge on behalf of the Rockets and the NBA, it becomes transparent as they choose to forgo the knowledge of trained professionals and make independent decisions for something as complex as mental health without consulting any doctors.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 31, 1978, in the Patriots’ first playoff game in Foxboro, New England lost 31-14 to which team?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “He never falls short of having a bunch of things that we need to fix. There’s no coach that gets you better prepared to go into the playoffs.” — Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty , on Bill Belichick  after Sunday’s victory over the Dolphins clinched the No. 2 seed for the AFC playoffs
TRIVIA ANSWER: Houston Oilers
SOOTHING SOUNDS: John Denver, who died in 1997, was born on this day in 1943.