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.
NEWARK, N.J. — Martin Jones made 28 saves for his first shutout of the season and 16th overall in the San Jose Sharks' 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.
Melker Karlsson, Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi scored and Justin Braun had two assists to help the Sharks open a five-game East Coast trip.
Keith Kinkaid, the top goalie for New Jersey with Cory Schneider on injured reserve, stopped 30 shots as the Devils' three-game winning streak came to an end.
The Devils couldn't muster a strong push in the later stages against the rested Sharks. It was New Jersey's second game two nights following a 5-4 overtime victory in Ottawa. And it showed against the Sharks, who played a solid road game, pressed their advantage and solidly supported Jones.
Karlsson scored the lone goal of the opening period at 14:11 on a close-in shot following a slick behind-the-net setup pass from Tomas Hertl.
The shots were 13 for each team in the evenly played period. The Devils came close on several occasions as former Shark Mirco Mueller and Blake Coleman both hit the crossbar and Jones robbed Drew Stafford on a dead-on drive from the slot.
Pavelski and Donskoi got second-period goals as the Sharks steadily tightened their grip on the game.
Pavelski tipped in Braun's point shot at 5:49. Joe Thornton got the second assist, his 1,395th point, to pass Luc Robitaille for 21st on the career list.
Donskoi backhanded a rebound shot with 1:10 left in the period in which the Sharks outshot the Devils 11-6.
The remaining drama centered on Jones' shutout bid.
NOTES: The Devils placed Schneider on injured reserve Friday with a lower-body injury and recalled Scott Wedgewood from Binghamton of the American Hockey League to serve as Kinkaid's backup. ... Mueller, a healthy scratch in three of the previous four games, returned for the Devils to face the Sharks, the team that drafted him in the first round, for the first time. He was dealt to New Jersey over the summer.
Sharks: At the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
Devils: Host Ottawa on Friday night.
Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch watched most of Thursday night’s game versus Kansas City from the stands after getting ejected for making contact with an official.
He’ll also be a spectator next week.
The NFL suspended him one game for unsportsmanlike conduct stemming from an incident where left the sidelines to join an on-field scuffle and ended up pushing an official.
The league announced the suspension Friday afternoon. Lynch has already appealed the suspension, per multiple reports.
He was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct and automatically ejected by rule.
Punishment after the fact has gotten expensive.
By rule, Lynch will be fined $30,387 for making contact with an official. He could get hit with other penalties, including entering a fight unnecessarily.
Lynch is also suspended without pay, meaning he’ll forfeit a $79,411 game check and a $31,250 per-game roster bonus.
The Cal alum won’t play a Week 8 contest in Buffalo, against a Bills team that drafted him No. 12 overall in 2007.
Lynch was on the sidelines during a third down draw play where quarterback Derek Carr incurred what officials called a late hit from Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters.
The Raiders offensive line took offense, and came after Peters in a scrum. Lynch and Peters, both Oakland natives, are extremely close. Lynch ran on the field to get between his teammates and his friend, but ended up inadvertently pushing an official. The league has zero tolerance for that, and sent him off the field.
Lynch watched a dramatic 31-30 victory over Kansas City from the stands and screens near the field, and congratulated his teammates after a big win.
Lynch did not explain why he entered the fray, though he seemed to be trying to get Peters out of harm’s way.
“They can say what they want but one thing’s for certain: Family do come first,” Peters told Bay Area News Group’s Logan Murdock.
His Raiders teammates and coaches must carry on without the 31-year old power back. They’ll roll with Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and fullback Jamize Olawale against the Bills, as they did against the Chiefs.
Lynch had two carries for nine yards before getting tossed. He has just 266 yards and two touchdowns on 72 carries through seven games.
If the suspension is upheld, Lynch will be eligible to return in Week 9 against Miami.