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.
With the NFL facing more PR issues by the day, Randy Moss has identified what he feels is wrong with a league that can’t seem to stay out of trouble.
In wake of the Josh Brown situation, which saw the NFL blame the King County (Wash.) Sheriff’s Office for the lack of initial punishment given to the Giants kicker for domestic violence, Moss said on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown that commissioner Roger Goodell is the league’s biggest problem.
“[This is] a bad time to show up now, breast cancer awareness month where we’re supporting the women, and then you come up with this Josh Brown, where it doesn’t seem like we are supporting women,” Moss said. “I think the NFL needs to take a deep look. I think the owners are mad, and Roger Goodell, he is the biggest reason to all of this stuff that’s fallen downhill with the NFL. I have to agree with that.”
Brown was initially given a one-game suspension for violating the league’s conduct policy stemming from his 2015 fourth-degree domestic violence charge. On Friday, the 37-year-old was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list.
PITTSBURGH – So far this season, Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski have combined for 39 catches, 644 yards and five touchdowns. Making the numbers that much more impressive is the fact the numbers were rolled up with Gronk inactive for two games and fairly useless in another thanks to his hamstring injury.
Will the Steelers slow the roll of Robellus Grennetski?
Hard to imagine. As Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out, Gronk alone has tuned up the Steelers with 26 receptions for 403 yards and seven touchdowns in six meetings.
Fittipaldo explored the strategies the Steelers defense may unveil Sunday afternoon when the Patriots and Steelers get going. He also pointed out that the return of linebacker Ryan Shazier after a three week layoff and injuries for safeties Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden may put Pittsburgh at a disadvantage.
Said Shazier: “They have the tandem they want at tight end. Now they can use tight ends the way they want. You have to respect everyone on the field. Both of them are good blockers, good pass threats and great at running after the catch.”
Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said Pittsburgh will alter its approaches.
“We have to be able to play more than one defense,” Butler said. “They’re very good and they’ll pick you apart if they can figure out what you’re doing. We just have to execute the defense more than anything else. If we can do that … that’s been our problem for the most part. Some of the things that went on last week, we missed some things we should have made mentally.”
What “went on last week” was a 30-15 loss to the Dolphins.
Pittsburgh hasn’t been a big-play group so far -- eight sacks and three picks -- nor have they seen a gauntlet of great quarterbacks in the first six games.
Interestingly, their losses have been to Ryan Tannehill and rookie Carson Wentz, probably the two quarterbacks one would figure Pittsburgh would do best against.
Between a smoking hot Brady and a can’t-be-stopped tight end tandem, there’s probably not a lot Pittsburgh can do aside from hoping for an off day.
Said linebacker Arthur Moats hopefully: “You have to continue to mix it up against (Gronkowski). You can’t give him the same look over and over. He has success on guys like that. If we disrupt him, and rush Brady and speed up his clock, I definitely think that will help out.”
In theory, perhaps. In practice? We’ll see.