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Stanford, UCLA a surprising Pac-12 title matchup

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Stanford, UCLA a surprising Pac-12 title matchup

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) As part of senior day celebrations held earlier this month for Stanford's final home game of the regular season, outgoing players wore T-shirts that read: ``Last Walk.''

Time to bring those mementos out of the closet.

``We're going to have to change the date of our last walk T-shirt,'' fifth-year linebacker Chase Thomas said Sunday. ``Put some tape over it or something.''

The Pac-12 Conference championship game is coming to The Farm a year later than everybody expected - and for a matchup nobody could've predicted.

While Andrew Luck is gone, the eighth-ranked Cardinal (10-2, 8-1) are surprisingly where they've wanted to be all along: hosting the league title game Friday night in a quick rematch against No. 17 UCLA (9-3, 6-3), which overtook preseason No. 1 Southern California to capture the South Division crown.

So much for that Oregon-USC showdown so many had forecast this fall.

``I remember when nobody was giving us a look down at the Pac-12 media day,'' Thomas said. ``I told them, `It was the same thing when Toby (Gerhart) left. It was the same thing when (Jim) Harbaugh left. It was the same thing when Andrew left.' I guess people out there just don't get it.

``They don't understand what type of guys we have on this team. The kind of coaches we have. We're not going away. We're not a one-person team. We never have been. So people can think what they want. We know this team is going to be around for a while.''

A week after Stanford stunned Oregon in overtime, the Cardinal crushed the Bruins 35-17 at the Rose Bowl on Saturday to seal the North Division title and set up a strange sequel. Rarely do teams ever play twice in the same season in college football, and even rarer does that happen in back-to-back weeks.

That's the kind of season it has been in the Pac-12 Conference.

Stanford's only league loss came at Washington in the fourth game of the season, losing 17-13 on a Thursday night when the offense failed to score a touchdown. Cardinal coach David Shaw replaced quarterback Josh Nunes after eight games with redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan, who has beaten three ranked teams - Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA - in his first three career starts to give the nation's top rushing defense some support.

The Bruins lost to Oregon State and at California before winning five straight - the program's longest winning streak in seven years - a run capped with a thrilling 38-28 victory against the crosstown rival Trojans.

Stanford had to win its finale in Pasadena just to get another shot at UCLA because No. 6 Oregon (11-1, 8-1) beat Oregon State 48-24 in the Civil War rivalry that finished about 10 minutes before the Cardinal and Bruins began their game in front of a sellout crowd at the Rose Bowl.

Turns out, that was just a dress rehearsal.

``I cannot recall ever being in this situation before,'' UCLA coach Jim Mora said. ``I don't know that it benefits either team, or is hard on any team. It just comes down to going out on Friday night and executing. Any familiarity we have with them, they'll have with us. It just kind of negates each other.''

Shaw and Mora will rely on their NFL coaching experience to guide them this week. While pro teams often play divisional opponents twice in three games, consecutive matchups are almost unheard of at any level.

The Cardinal controlled the first go-around and left no secrets about what they plan to do.

Stepfan Taylor rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns, Hogan passed for 160 yards and another score and Stanford ran away with its fourth victory in a row over the Bruins. Brett Hundley, UCLA's redshirt freshman quarterback, was 20 of 38 for 261 yards and a TD with one interception while getting sacked seven times.

``Every week is going to be different. Not every week is going be perfect,'' Hundley said. ``We've just got to come out, and we're blessed with another opportunity to play another game for the Pac-12 championship, and we've just got to have fun and play our game.''

UCLA's hopes to play in the program's first Rose Bowl game since 1999 will not be any easier this week.

Stanford has won eight straight and 19 of its past 20 home games, with the lone loss coming to Oregon last season. The Cardinal, riding a six-game winning streak, are looking to seal a spot in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2000.

The Cardinal already secured three straight 10-win seasons for the first time in school history. The senior class, which figured their playing days at Stanford Stadium might've ended when they rallied to beat Oregon State 27-23 on Nov. 10, has a chance to go out with three consecutive 11-win seasons - all ending in different BCS bowls.

``We kind of did the senior day last time we were in the stadium, not knowing when those guys were going to be back, really thinking the next time they would be back in there would be graduation,'' Shaw said. ``Now getting one more game is special for those guys. They're real excited about it. I think you get an idea of what our team is like because our younger guys are excited for our seniors. It's not just that they're excited to be in the game. They're excited that the seniors get to come in the stadium one more time. I think that shows how tight of a team we are.''

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AP Sports Writer Greg Beacham in Los Angeles contributed.

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Final 2018 NFL Mock Draft Predictions: Pundits, analysts project Redskins pick

Final 2018 NFL Mock Draft Predictions: Pundits, analysts project Redskins pick

The 2018 NFL Draft is almost here.

It is time to finalize your final mock drafts and finish fine-tuning your big boards.

The NFL's biggest offseason event takes place in Dallas  in a little under 48 hours, there's still a lot of uncertainty about what the Redskins plan to do with their first-round pick.  

With that in mind, the guys of Redskins Talk podcast decided to ask those who follow the team closest - local media - to take a guess at who the team will take with the No. 13 overall pick.

40 different media members chimed in with their picks, and here's who they see going to the Burgandy and Gold: 

Final 2018 NFL Draft Redskins Predictions

— Larry Michael, Voice of the Redskins: Defensive player or trade down
— John "Cakes" Auville, 106.7 The Fan's The Sports Junkies: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU - "Guice will look nice in a Redskins uniform"
— JP Flaim, 106.7 The Fan's The Sports Junkies: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
— Jason "Lurch" Bishop, 106.7 The Fan's The Sports Junkies: Derwin James, S, Florida State - "could be the Sean Taylor of this draft"
— Eric "EB "Bickell, 106.7 The Fan's The Sports Junkies:: Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
— Matt Valdez, 106.7 The Fan's The Sports Junkies: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
— Matt Cahill, 106.7 The Fan's The Sports Junkies: Derrius Guice
— Craig Hoffman, 106 The Fan: Vita Vea
— Chad Dukes, 106.7 The Fan's Chad Dukes vs. The World: Derrius Guice
— Brock,106.7 The Fan's Chad Dukes vs. The World: Derrius GuiceVita Vea
— Chris Russell, 106.7 The Fan: Tremaine Edmunds
— Nick Ashooh, 106.7 The Fan: Vita Vea
— Andy Pollin, 106.7 The Fan: Vita Vea - "if he's a bust, we can call him 'oy Vita Vea'"
— Adam Epstein, 106.7 The Fan: Vita Vea
— Chris Cooley, The Team 980:: Trading down for Da'Ron Payne
— Kevin Sheehan, The Team 980 Radio: Da'Ron Payne
— Scott Linn, The Team 980: Vita Vea
— Bram Weinstein,The Team 980: Vita Vea
— Brian Mitchell, NBC Sports Washington: Da'Ron Payne
— Chick Hernandez, NBC Sports Washington: Vita Vea
— Santana Moss, NBC Sports Washington: Da'Ron Payne
— Michael Jenkins, NBC Sports Washington: Da'Rony Payne or Vita Vea
— Rich Tandler, NBC Sports Washington: Vita Vea
— JP Finlay, NBCSW Redskins Insider: Vita Vea
— Pete Hailey, NBC Sports Washington: Minkah Fitzpatrick
— Mitch Ticshler, NBC Sports Washington: Vita Vea
— Troy Machir, NBC Sports Washington: Vita Vea
— Ajay Atayee, NBC Sports Washington: Da'Ron Payne
— PFT Commenter, Barstool Sports: Vita Vea
— Barstool Nate, Barstool Sports: Trade up to take Baker Mayfield -"all eyes have to be on us, that's the Redskins way"
— Brent, Burgandy Blog: Minkah Fitzpatrick
— Sherree Burruss, Sports reporter, NBC4 Washington: Tremaine Edmunds
— Diane Chesebrough, USA Today: Vita Vea
— Kareem Copeland, Washington Post: Vita Vea
— Erin Hawksworth, WJLA: Minkah Fitzpatrick
— Jake Kring-Schreifels, Redskins.com: Vita Vea
— Lake Lewis, USA Today: Vita Vea
— Moises Linares, NBC Telemundo: Tremaine Edmunds
— Thom Loverro, Washington Times: Derrius Guice
— Ken Meringolo, Hog's Haven: Vita Vea
— Matthew Paras, Washington Times: Vita Vea - "he's a very large human, and the Redskins need one of those"
— Michael Phillips, Richmond Times Dispatch: Tremaine Edmunds
— Chad Ryan, Redskins Capital Connection: Derrius Guice - "he might have a higher ceiling than Saquon Barkley"
— Fred Smoot, former Redskins CB: Vita Vea
— Rick Snyder, Washington Post: Vita Vea
— Dimitri Sotis, WTOP: Derrius Guice
— Marc "Nigel" Sterne, producer at Tony Kornheiser Show: Shane Tripuka, P, Texas A&M
— Matt Terl, Washington City Paper: Darrius Guice -"and I will be miserable"
— George Wallace, Sports Director at WTOP: Vita Vea
— Ben White, Chief Economic Correspondent at Politico: Minkah Fitzpatrick
— Chris Worthy, REDSKINS GM (@chris_worthy): Vita Vea

You can listen to the whole podcast here:

RELATED: DOUG WILLIAMS SAYS TRADING UP IS UNLIKELY

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Williamson homers again, Giants top Nationals 4-3

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USA TODAY Sports

Williamson homers again, Giants top Nationals 4-3

SAN FRANCISCO -- Mac Williamson had to dust himself off after crashing into a low padded wall near the stands in left field while chasing a foul ball.

More frustrated than hurt, Williamson took it out on Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark a few moments later after undergoing a series of concussion tests in the dugout.

Williamson homered for the second straight night and third in five games, hitting a tiebreaking shot in the sixth inning to lead San Francisco to a 4-3 victory over Washington on Tuesday night.

"I got pretty lucky," Williamson said. "I felt fine then and I feel fine now. I'm sure once the adrenalin wears off later tonight, tomorrow we'll see how the body feels. I'm sure I'll be a little sore."

Brandon Belt hit his fifth home run in six games, Joe Panik added three hits and scored twice, and the Giants won their third straight and fourth in the last five.

One night after hitting a 464-foot homer in the series opener, Williamson hit a first-pitch solo shot to center off Roark with two outs in the sixth inning that bounced off the top of the wall and broke a 3-all tie. It wasn't as far as Monday's clout -- this one went 423 feet -- but was just as pivotal for the Giants.

"We've talked about what a shot in the arm he's been and he's more than that," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He came through again tonight. Good for him because he's worked hard at it."

Williamson's deciding home run came one inning after he stumbled over the bullpen mound in foul territory and crashed into a low wall near the stands while trying to chase down Bryce Harper's foul ball. Williamson stayed down briefly as team trainers rushed out before getting to his feet.

"I tried to roll my neck a little bit and my head down a little bit when I started going down," Williamson said. "I think that helped break my fall. I was just a little frustrated I didn't come up with the play. I had it in my glove and it came out."

Belt hit a two-run shot off Roark (1-2) in the third.

Michael Taylor had a three-run homer for Washington, which has lost four straight and 14 of 20 since opening the season 4-0.

"It seems like that sixth inning's been biting us in the rear as of late," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "We're swinging the bats. We just can't get the big hit with people on base."

Reyes Moronta (1-0) retired six batters for his first career win. Sam Dyson pitched one inning and Hunter Strickland worked the ninth for his fifth save.

The Giants got a run off Roark in the first but left the bases loaded when Evan Longoria struck out looking to end the inning. Belt homered on a 3-2 pitch from Roark in the second to make it 3-0.

Washington tied it on Taylor's three-run homer off starter Ty Blach in the third. Ryan Zimmerman walked and Moises Sierra singled before Taylor's deep drive into the right-field stands.

Roark went into the game 6-0 in seven career games against San Francisco but couldn't find a rhythm this time. He allowed four runs on six hits, walked two and hit a batter and threw a pair of wild pitches.

WHERE DID IT GO?

Panik hit a soft comebacker to Roark in the fifth that glanced off the pitcher's glove then bounced up on the top of his cap before falling to the turf. Roark initially couldn't locate the ball but found it in time to throw to first for the out.

AILING BLACH

Blach allowed three runs and four hits in five innings. After the game, Bochy said the left-hander suffered from food poisoning last week and was given an IV on Monday. "That was a really gutty effort that he gave us," Bochy said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: Placed RHP Shawn Kelley on the 10-disabled list with ulnar nerve irritation in his right elbow. Infielder/outfielder Matt Reynolds was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse and outfielder Rafael Bautista and infielder Adrian Sanchez were called up.

UP NEXT

Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (4-1, 1.36 ERA) and Giants RHP Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 0.00) take to the mound for the series finale at AT&T Park on Wednesday. Samardzija is making his second start after beginning the season on the disabled list.