Wizards

Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl? Maybe

Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl? Maybe

College football's most storied program, playing on its grandest stage.

Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl. It could happen.

While most fans are focused on the four-team race to the BCS championship game, another intriguing Bowl Championship Series sidebar is developing. Will the Rose Bowl, if given the opportunity, invite Notre Dame? The Fighting Irish have only played in the Granddaddy of Bowls once before - in 1925.

``There is still so much that can happen, and of course the biggest story out there is whether we would take Notre Dame, but there is a lot to play out before it starts to become a serious conversation within our group,'' Rose Bowl spokeswoman Gina Chappin said Wednesday.

Here's how those conversations becomes serious.

If Oregon wins the Pac-12 and finishes first or second in the BCS standings, the Ducks will pay in the BCS national championship game.

Depending on where the Ducks finish, that would give the Rose Bowl either the first or second pick among the four BCS games to replace one of its contractually bound champions with an eligible at-large team.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 are longtime and lucrative partners with the Rose Bowl, and game organizers would prefer to keep their partners happy and dip back into those conferences for replacement teams.

``Whenever we can protect our relationship with the Pac-12 and the Big Ten, that is very important to us,'' Chappin said.

To be eligible for an at-large spot, a team must be ranked in the top 14 of the final BCS standings and have nine victories. No. 13 Oregon State (7-1) is in 11th-place heading into Saturday's game at No. 16 Stanford. The Beavers also play California, Oregon and Nicholls State on Dec. 1 (provided they aren't in the Pac-12 title game).

If Oregon State finishes 10-2, assuming a loss to the Ducks, the Beavers should have no problem being BCS eligible, very possibly in the top 10. And because Oregon State last played in the Rose Bowl in 1965, the Beavers would check a second important box for the selection committee.

``Have they played in our game recently?'' Chappin said.

Bowl organizers love inviting teams who haven't been to their game in a long time, because fired-up fans gobble up tickets.

It would get interesting if Oregon State loses twice between now and the end of the season.

At 9-3, the Beavers could still slip into the BCS top 14. But at that point, they might not look so appealing to the Rose Bowl. Especially, compared to Notre Dame.

There are other factors that could influence the Rose Bowl's decision. If Wisconsin wins the Big Ten, the Rose Bowl would probably like to avoid a rematch of a regular-season game between the Badgers and Beavers.

Or, if not Notre Dame, how about this possibility: A Rose Bowl reunion of old conference rivals Nebraska and Oklahoma.

``There are so many variables that go into the conversation of the matchup. It's not a conversation we have a lot,'' Chappin said. ``We're at a position right now where it's too early to focus on the what-ifs.''

True, but they are interesting.

The picks:

THURSDAY

No. 8 Florida State (minus 14) at Virginia Tech

Hokies need to win two of final three to become bowl eligible ... FLORIDA STATE 28-17.

SATURDAY

No. 15 Texas A&M (plus 14) at No. 1 Alabama

Aggies QB Johnny Manziel has been contained by LSU and Florida's top defenses ... ALABAMA 35-17.

California (plus 28) at No. 2 Oregon

Ducks RB Kenjon Barner making late Heisman push ... OREGON 55-21.

No. 3 Kansas State (off) at TCU

With or without Collin Klein ... KANSAS STATE 38-31.

No. 4 Notre Dame (minus 19) at Boston College

For first time in about a month, Irish get easy win ... NOTRE DAME 35-10.

BEST BET

No. 5 Georgia (minus 15) at Auburn

Tigers haven't shown much fight ... GEORGIA 42-14.

Louisiana-Lafayette (plus 26 1/2) at No. 7 Florida

Sun Belt teams have been tougher outs for SEC squads this season ... FLORIDA 42-14.

No. 23 Mississippi State (plus 14 1/2) at No. 9 LSU

Bulldogs have lost 10 straight trips to Death Valley, 12 straight overall to Tigers ... LSU 24-13.

Maryland (plus 31) at No. 10 Clemson

Tigers QB Tajh Boyd is another late-blooming Heisman contender ... CLEMSON 50-14.

UPSET SPECIAL

No. 11 Louisville (minus 2 1/2) at Syracuse

Unbeaten Cardinals face tricky trip to improving Orange ... SYRACUSE 28-24.

Arkansas (plus 14) at No. 12 South Carolina

Razorbacks need two wins against tough schedule to become bowl eligible ... SOUTH CAROLINA 38-21.

No. 13 Oregon State (plus 4 1/2) at No. 16 Stanford

Cardinal making QB switch from Josh Nunes to Kevin Hogan ... OREGON STATE 28-24.

Baylor (plus 21 1/2) at No. 14 Oklahoma

Bears snapped 20-game losing streak to Sooners last season ... OKLAHOMA 55-24.

No. 17 UCLA (minus 14 1/2) at Washington State

First season at Washington State has been a mess for Mike Leach ... UCLA 44-14.

Penn State (plus 7) at No. 18 Nebraska

Cornhuskers control their road to Big Ten title game ... NEBRASKA 28-14.

No. 19 Louisiana Tech (minus 20) at Texas State, 7 p.m.

La Tech has scored at least 50 in seven of nine games ... LOUISIANA TECH 54-31.

Iowa State (plus 10) at No. 19 Texas

Cyclones won in Austin two seasons ago ... TEXAS 31-17.

Arizona State (plus 9) at No. 21 Southern California

Sun Devils have lost three straight ... USC 48-21.

Army (plus 17) at No. 24 Rutgers

Scarlet Knights have won eight straight in series ... RUTGERS 38-17.

Kansas (plus 25 1/2) at No. 25 Texas Tech

Jayhawks averaging 12 points in conference ... TEXAS TECH 42-12.

Last week's record: 17-2 (straight); 11-8 (vs. points)

Season record: 163-35 (straight); 94-86 (vs. points)

Best bets: 4-6.

Upset specials: 6-4.

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphdurssoAP

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Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

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

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 110-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night...

1. The Wizards didn't start out well, as they trailed by nine points at the end of the first quarter. Kelly Oubre, Jr. stumbled early by missing four of his first six shots and it looked like a carryover of his slump before the All-Star break.

But Oubre got hot in the second quarter and helped the Wizards turn the game around. This was one of his best plays, a two-handed slam that he celebrated with an emphatic scream to the crowd:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

2. Tomas Satoransky was one of the stars of the game. He had 17 points to go along with eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. 

Here's one of his dimes, a perfect alley-oop lob to Markieff Morris, who finished with nine points and eight rebounds:

3. Satoransky has reached double-figures in six of the 10 games since John Wall went out with an injury. This was a very impressive move, a stepback fadeaway that was super smooth:

RELATED: GET TO KNOW NEW WIZARDS FREE AGENT SIGNING

4. Ian Mahinmi made some key contributions including four offensive rebounds and a steal. This was his best basket, a powerful slam that came at a key time:

5. This play helped seal the victory. It was a smart after-timeout set drawn up by head coach Scott Brooks and it worked to perfection:

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS