Capitals

No. 3 Florida has shot to clinch SEC East

201210201840672509045-p2.jpeg

No. 3 Florida has shot to clinch SEC East

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Getting to Atlanta for the Southeastern Conference championship game is the goal for every team in the Southeastern Conference.

Florida has accomplished it more often than anyone else.

Maybe that's why the third-ranked Gators are taking such a ho-hum approach to Saturday's all-important game against No. 12 Georgia. A more likely scenario, though, is that it's early, and players and coaches are saving all the hype and hoopla for the weekend.

``Nothing's changed for us,'' coach Will Muschamp said Monday. ``We're not working any longer, harder. Practice, it's all the same. We don't approach things differently based on the situation because next week's important, too.''

Not quite like this one, though.

The Gators (7-0, 6-0 SEC) can clinch a spot in the conference title game with a victory against rival Georgia (7-1, 5-1). The Bulldogs, meanwhile, need to beat Florida and probably win remaining games against Mississippi and Auburn to get to Atlanta.

``It's good for us,'' Gators linebacker Jon Bostic said. ``That's one of our goals from the beginning of the year. We certainly want to get to Atlanta, but we've got to take it one game at a time. It's another SEC game we want to win.''

Florida has represented the Eastern Division 10 times since the inception of the title game in 1992. The Gators also have more wins (7) than anyone else.

But few outsiders expected Muschamp's team to contend for the division in his second season. Not after last year's 7-6 record that included the coach calling his players soft. Not with a sophomore quarterback. Not with a new offensive coordinator.

The Gators, though, have surprised just about everyone.

They came from behind to win at Texas A&M and Tennessee. They were more physical than LSU and South Carolina. They have been most impressive with halftime adjustments, second-half stamina and special teams play.

Now, all that stands in the way of another trip to Atlanta is Georgia.

``It's another big game,'' quarterback Jeff Driskel said. ``It's an SEC East game, and it's the Florida-Georgia game. You couldn't really ask for more. You come to Florida to play in games like this. We're excited to start preparing and we're ready for another big week. ... We know what's at stake, but we're going to prepare like we have been all year and just be ready when it comes Saturday.''

The Gators have plenty of motivation, too.

Not only is the SEC East at stake, but Florida lost to Georgia last year. And those late-season losses seem to be propelling the Gators this season.

They admitted as much after beating LSU on Oct. 6 and drubbing South Carolina on Saturday, saying they wanted to avenge setbacks from last year's disappointing season.

``We just get another chance,'' Driskel said. ``Like coach said, you don't get too many second chances in life and we have yet another one this week. We're going to make this one (count). I don't want to say revenge. We're just going to go out there and play hard and practice hard, you know, work hard this week.''

Muschamp spoke to his team last week about possible distractions stemming from the program's lofty ranking and a No. 2 spot the first Bowl Championship Series standings. Might he do it again this week, with the SEC East on the line?

``When there are obvious possible distractions for your football team, you can stick your head in the sand and pretend everything's OK or you can address it with them,'' Muschamp said. ``And that's what I choose to do. So I address things and say, `All right, if we need to talk about it, let's talk about it.' And we'll all agree that we don't need to.''

Just another ho-hum week in Gainesville, right?

Not quite.

``There are some games where there will be a little more adrenaline flowing, certainly,'' Muschamp said. ``And there will be in this one. But as a competitor, you prepare yourself the right way each week, regardless of the opponent or the situation. And certainly, when there's a little bit more at stake, you may get a little bit more excited.''

Quick Links

Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

usatsi_9678896.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

When: 8:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blackhawks will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Blackhawks game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals (33-17-7) take on the Blackhawks (24-26-8) Saturday, February 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET in Chicago.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Blackhawks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 7:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 8:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 11:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 12:30 a.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

7:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
8:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:30 p.m. — Capitals at Blackhawks
11:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
12:30 a.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Blackhawks game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Brett Connolly - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - Alex Chiasson
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Jakub Vrana, Taylor Chorney

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals-Blackhawks game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

Quick Links

2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

The 2018 NBA All-Star Saturday Night is here with the three-point contest, dunk contest and skills competition set for Los Angeles.

Here is all you need to know: TV and live stream info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

2018 NBA ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Where: Staples Center
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: TNT
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)

PODCAST: ALL-STAR WEEKEND PREVIEW, WIZARDS AT THE BREAK 

Skills competition

Participants: Lou Williams, Clippers; Jamal Murray, Nuggets; Al Horford, Celtics; Spencer Dinwiddie, Nets; Joel Embiid, Sixers; Buddy Hield, Kings; Lauri Markkanen, Bulls; Andre Drummond, Pistons

What to know: This year's crop has a fascinating mix of guards and big men and don't sleep on the seven-footers. Embiid in particular has a unique skillset for his size. Still, it's tough to beat the guards. Watch out for Dinwiddie, who is the best passer of the bunch.

RELATED: BETTING ODDS FOR DUNK CONTEST, THREE-POINT CONTEST

Three-point contest

Participants: Klay Thompson, Warriors; Eric Gordon, Rockets; Devin Booker, Suns; Paul George, Thunder; Wayne Ellington, Heat; Bradley Beal, Wizards; Kyle Lowry, Raptors; Tobias Harris, Clippers

What to know: Thompson and Gordon enter the contest as past champions, as Thompson won it in 2016 and Gordon took it home last year. Thompson has the best three-point percentage among the group and is the favorite, but watch out for Beal, a past runner-up, and George who has the second best percentage. Also, Booker is one of the game's best young players and has a very smooth stroke from three.

RELATED: WIZARDS/BULLETS HISTORY ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Dunk contest

Participants: Dennis Smith Jr.; Mavericks; Donovan Mitchell, Jazz; Larry Nance Jr., Cavaliers; Victor Oladipo, Pacers

What to know: This is all about the rookies, Smith and Mitchell, who most are predicting to win. Oladipo has been in the contest before, but didn't win. He's also the only All-Star of the bunch. Nance is the only guy who isn't a guard and his father won it back in 1984. It will be interesting to see if he does some sort of nod to his old man, now 34 years later.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS