From Comcast SportsNetOne down, one to go for Oregon.The Ducks moved up a spot and passed Notre Dame in the BCS standings on Sunday, moving into third place behind Alabama and Kansas State.Oregon is coming off its biggest victory of the season, winning 62-51 at Southern California on Saturday night. That result, combined with Notre Dame's overtime victory against a middling Pittsburgh team, helped nudge the Ducks by the Irish this week.Alabama (.9957) is a rock solid No. 1 in both the polls and the BCS computer ratings this week. The Tide needs only to win out to reach the BCS title game for the third time in four seasons.Kansas State (.9318) is third in the polls and in the computers, but second overall.The Ducks (.9166) are a solid No. 2 in both polls, but still fifth in the computers.But the Ducks have a stronger schedule than Kansas State from this point forward, making Oregon a strong bet to pass the Wildcats if it keeps winning and earn a spot in the BCS title game in Miami on Jan. 7.The Ducks play at California on Saturday before finishing their regular season against two teams in the BCS top 15, Stanford and Oregon State. If they get to the Pac-12 title game, UCLA or USC would be the likely opponent. Both are in the BCS top 20.Kansas State is at TCU and Baylor the next two weeks, before finishing with Texas on Dec. 1. The Longhorns are 17th in the BCS standings.Notre Dame (.9050) is in fourth place with only two opponents with a winning record left on its schedule. The Fighting Irish are at Boston College on Saturday, then come home to face Wake Forest before a finale at USC.Behind the Irish in the standings are four Southeastern Conference teams -- Georgia, Florida, LSU, South Carolina.
BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.
The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.
The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.
The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.
“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”
The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.
“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”
A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.
The Bruins drop their third straight game as they fall 1-0 to the Blackhawks at the TD Garden.