From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- Two years before the playoffs start in college football, the Southeastern Conference is staging a semifinal to determine who plays Notre Dame in the BCS title game.Alabama (.9236) was second and Georgia (.8911) third in the BCS standings released Sunday. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs play Saturday in Atlanta for the SEC championship.The winner will advance to the national championship game in Miami on Jan. 7 against the Fighting Irish (.9979), who locked up their spot Saturday with a 22-13 victory against Southern California."If you think about what the game means, this that and the other, it doesn't really help you win the game," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "The only thing that helps you win the game is preparation and getting your mind ready to go to battle. That's what you've got to do."Florida (.8882) is fourth in the standings, but with no games left, looks stuck behind their SEC rivals. The good news for the Gators is they are likely to get an at-large BCS bid to the Sugar Bowl, while the SEC runner-up is out of the big games all together."For either one of these teams, it's not really a great scenario," Alabama coach Nick Saban said.One way or another, the SEC will get a shot at its seventh straight BCS championship.The Bowl Championship Series is in its second-to-last season. It will be replaced by a four-team playoff in 2014.While the race for the BCS title game is now fairly straight forward heading into championship weekend in college football, there's some intrigue to watch for involving potential BCS busters.Kent State is 17th in the standings and Northern Illinois is 21st. They'll meet in the Mid-American Conference championship game on Friday night in Detroit.Because it is almost a certainty that the Big East champion -- Louisville and Rutgers will determine who that is on Thursday night in New Jersey -- will be ranked behind the MAC champion in the final BCS standings, if either Kent State or NIU can get into the top 16, they would receive an automatic BCS bid. The MAC has never sent a team to the BCS.Neither Louisville nor Rutgers is in the BCS top 25 this week.Boise State from the Mountain West is 20th in the standings and also still in the mix for that BCS buster bid if it can jump ahead of the MAC teams and into the first 16. The Broncos play Nevada on Saturday to earn a share of the MW title.The team that could be hurt most if a BCS buster emerges is Oklahoma. The Sooners are sitting 11th in the standings with a game left against TCU. With another victory, they would seem to be in good shape to get into the BCS even if Kansas State clinches the Big 12 by beating Texas.But that at-large spot could get gobbled up by a BCS buster.Other BCS automatic bids will be determined this weekend in the Pac-12, Big Ten and Atlantic Coast Conference.UCLA plays at Stanford in the Pac-12 title game with the winner going to the Rose Bowl.Wisconsin and Nebraska will play for the Big Ten's Rose Bowl berth.Florida State and Georgia Tech play for the ACC title and a spot in the Orange Bowl.Oregon is fifth in the latest standings, and like Florida, done with its regular season and in good shape to receive an at-large BCS bid.
The New England Patriots have announced that they've released defensive tackle Darius Kilgo.
The move creates an opening for wide receiver Griff Whalen, who they have reportedly signed to a one-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Kilgo, a sixth-round pick out of Maryland in 2015, did not make an appearance for the Patriots after being claimed off waivers from the Broncos last week. He played 81 snaps for Denver this season.
Whalen, 26, played in two games for San Diego in 2016 where he caught two passes for a total of 22 yards.
The former Colts wideout is perhaps best remembered in New England for his part in Indianapolis' disastrous fake punt against the Patriots last season.
WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics are about to hit one of the toughest stretches of the season and they’ll have to do it for at least one more game without their leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas.
Thomas, who suffered a right groin injury on Monday against the Houston Rockets, did not play on Wednesday against Orlando and said that he will not play in Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors.
“It’s day to day. I want to play. I want to be out there but it’s the smart decision to hold out and wait until it’s 100 percent,” Thomas said during a Season of Giving event for children of the Military Friends Foundation held at the Celtics’ practice facility. “If it was a playoff game I would be out there for sure.”
However, after consulting with a number of medical personnel, Thomas decided the best thing for him and the Celtics was to sit out Friday’s game which, along with Wednesday in Orlando, will be the first two he has missed since the 2014-2015 season.
Thomas said there’s no specific timetable for his return, but he said he is planning to travel with the team to Oklahoma City for their matchup against the Thunder on Sunday.
“It’s eating me a live to sit, but I have to do what’s best for my body, I have to do what’s best for this team,” Thomas said. “I need to be 100 percent healthy to give this team what I can give them.”
The Celtics are hoping for similar success they had Wednesday in Orlando (a 117-87 victory) on Friday against Toronto.
“They played a hell of a game last night,” Thomas said. “They’ll be ready tomorrow.”
The fact that Thomas intends to travel with the team is a good sign that the groin injury isn’t too serious.
If he doesn’t play at Oklahoma City, that likely means he’ll return to action on Wednesday at San Antonio.
“I’m going to do what I can to get back out there on the court,” Thomas said. “I gotta be smart about this. I don’t want this to linger on this season.”
Replacing Smart in the lineup against Toronto will most likely be Marcus Smart.
Smart, who has been a replacement starter at small forward and point guard this season, had 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals against the Magic.