Preps Talk

What Alabama's loss means for Notre Dame

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What Alabama's loss means for Notre Dame

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- In the span of three and a half hours Saturday afternoon, it's a pretty safe assumption that "Gig 'em" entered the lexicon of Notre Dame nation.

The legend of Johnny Football grew Saturday in Tuscaloosa, with Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel leading a stunning 29-24 Aggie win over the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide. The win sent shockwaves from coast to coast, as the group of unbeaten teams in college football shrunk to three.

While Alabama's loss was Notre Dame's gain, it wasn't a topic of discussion in the Irish locker room.

"Oh no. No no no. Absolutely not," coach Brian Kelly said, shaking his head. " We didn't even talk about it. We talked about what we have to do to win next week against Wake Forest."

That's the mentality Notre Dame has taken -- no player on the team will admit to caring about the results of Alabama, Kansas State or Oregon, even if they have a direct impact on their shot at a title. For Notre Dame, it's about controlling what they can control, which wasn't Manziel's terrific performance at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

"I was watching the game before. I didn't hear they lost, I knew they were down, but I was watching the game before," quarterback Everett Golson explained. "I turned it off a little bit and tried to get ready for this game right here, because that's all I could really control."

Notre Dame should move up to No. 3 in the newest BCS standings released Sunday, behind presumptive No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon. K-State topped TCU 23-10 in Fort Worth, while Oregon's offense was in its usual explosive state against Cal.

KSU faces Baylor in Waco and Texas in Manhattan to close out the year, while Oregon draws Stanford at home, Oregon State on the road and then probably USC at home in the Pac 12 championship game.

Notre Dame won't jump ahead of K-State or Oregon if all three teams finish undefeated, no matter how impressive or unimpressive the trio look in their final games. All Notre Dame can do is win out, although the Irish aren't co-opting the survive-and-advance mentality that permeates the NCAA basketball tournament.

"When you stop playing to win and start playing not to lose, that's when you start getting in trouble," linebacker Manti Te'o said. "We just gotta play Notre Dame football and come out every single week and start firing on all cylinders."

And no, a one-loss Alabama team won't leapfrog an undefeated Notre Dame side -- College Football Talk's John Taylor spoke to someone who knows the BCS formula, and that person didn't see an avenue for a one-loss team to be ranked ahead of an undefeated team at the end of the season.

Notre Dame's national championship hopes haven't completely crystallized yet. Even with Alabama out of the equation, there's still one more loss needed for the Irish to break through into the BCS Championship picture.

But they're one step closer to a top-two ranking and trip to Miami. First, though, they have to take care of their own business -- which, as the Irish have experienced this season, won't be easy.

"It's only as real as Wake Forest," Te'o said of Notre Dame's championship aspirations. "We have to deal with Wake Forest and play one game at a time. That's proof that it's college football. Any team can lose at any time. We just don't want to be that team."

High School Lites Football Semifinals Roundup

High School Lites Football Semifinals Roundup

High School Lites has plenty of great IHSA football playoff action from the semifinals on Saturday as NBC Sports Chicago has highlights of many of the area's top matchups. 

Be sure to also follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights. 

DRIVE: Prairie RidgeEpisode 14

This Week's Scores

Class 8A

Loyola Academy 17, Edwardsville 10

Lincoln-Way East 24, Maine South 14

Class 7A

Lake Zurich 14, Mount Carmel 7

Batavia 23, Benet Academy 13

Class 6A

Prairie Ridge 42, Hoffman Estates 21

Nazareth Academy 24, Providence Catholic 7

Class 5A

Phillips 27, Sterling 14

Dunlap 21, Washington 0

Class 4A

Morris 43, Raby 8

Rochester 31, Highland 14

Class 3A

IC Catholic 7, Byron 0

Pleasant Plains 41, Anna-Jonesboro 2

Class 2A

Gibson City 14, Newman Central Catholic 8

Maroa-Forsyth 25, Shelbyville 14

Class 1A

Tuscola 21, Athens 14

Lena-Winslow 12, Forreston 8

 

Three Things to Watch: Bulls take on Suns

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Three Things to Watch: Bulls take on Suns

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Bulls take on the Phoenix Suns Sunday on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live.

1. Something's got to give

What's the opposite of an unstoppable force vs. an immovable object? That's what we'll be looking at when the Bulls have the ball in their hands. Chicago ranks dead last in offensive efficiency, while the Suns have the 2nd worst defensive efficiency in the NBA. That means the Bulls, after scoring a season-high 123 points against the Hornets, can build on that momentum against a Suns defense that allowed 90 points in the FIRST HALF to the Rockets on Thursday.

2. Kris Dunn for real?

Fresh off the best game of his young career - he scored 22 points in a win over the Hornets on Friday - Kris Dunn continues to look like the best point guard on the Bulls roster. He's going through a really solid stretch right now, averaging 13.2 points on 47 percent shooting, 4.2 assists and 2.6 steals over his last four games. With Eric Bledsoe out of Phoenix, Dunn could be in line for another big game going up against Mike James and Tyler Ulis, regardless of whether or not he starts over Jerian Grant.

3. Watch out for Devin Booker

We'll try to get an opponent in here once for every tune-in, and Devin Booker certainly fits the bill. Much like Dunn is doing, Booker is on quite a roll these days. Over his last four games Booker is averaging 30.5 points on 51 percent shooting, 4.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists. The Bulls will need to keep their eyes on Booker at all times, especially after allowing Kemba Walker to go off for 47 points on Friday.