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UF's Muschamp to Bama's Saban: We can switch spots

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UF's Muschamp to Bama's Saban: We can switch spots

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) If Alabama coach Nick Saban doesn't like the way the Bowl Championship Series is playing out, Florida coach Will Muschamp has a solution.

``Well, I can switch and go to Atlanta if he doesn't want to go to Atlanta and play the Dawgs,'' Muschamp said Monday. ``Be careful what you ask for, Nick.''

Saban said Sunday that is isn't fair that the fifth-ranked Gators likely will play in the Sugar Bowl over the loser of the Southeastern Conference title game. No. 2 Alabama plays No. 3 Georgia for the SEC title Saturday, with the winner advancing to the BCS title game in Miami and the loser probably landing in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando.

``It's not really a great scenario,'' Saban said. ``You play your way into the (SEC) championship game, which means you're the best team in your division. ... It doesn't seem quite right, but it is what it is. I don't really know what me commenting about it is going to do to change it. But I don't feel good about it.''

Muschamp worked for Saban at LSU and with the NFL's Miami Dolphins, and the two remain on good terms.

Florida (11-1) is essentially locked into the Sugar Bowl. The Gators are ranked No. 4 in the latest BCS standings, and even though they are off this weekend, probably won't fall. The top four teams are guaranteed spots in BCS games as long as no conference sends more than two teams. It will be nearly impossible for a two-loss Alabama or Georgia team to stay ahead of Florida.

The Gators, though, aren't lobbying for anything.

``We knew the rules of engagement when we started the season,'' Muschamp said. ``I'm not one that's going to sit there and complain about it. It is what it is. We had our opportunity in Jacksonville, and we didn't get it done.

``That's our fault. Nobody else's.''

Florida's lone loss came against Georgia in Jacksonville. The Gators turned the ball over six times, including once at Georgia's 5-yard line with 2:06 remaining. Florida needed a touchdown and a 2-point conversion to tie the game at 17. Jeff Driskel found tight end Jordan Reed for a 13-yard gain, but Reed fumbled while trying to gain extra yards.

Georgia recovered and ran out the clock.

The 17-9 loss cost the Gators a berth in the SEC title game and a shot at the national title.

Muschamp said he's looking forward to college football's four-team playoff, but won't complain that it's not in place already.

``It is what it is this year,'' Muschamp said. ``I'm not a guy that's going to sit there and belly-ache about the rules. They were set before the season started. We knew the deal. I'm not going to sit there and complain about it. We should have won the game.''

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3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

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USA TODAY Sports

3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

After a rough start, the Caps battled back to make a game of it against Tampa Bay, but ultimately fell 4-2 to the Lightning. Here's why.

The first period

To put it simply, this game was lost in the opening period. Washington was the better team for the second and third but they could not overcome the 3-0 lead they spotted the Lightning in the first. Beyond the goals, the Caps just did not play well. Even the simplest of plays looked difficult as Washington struggled to get the puck out of their own zone, gave up numerous turnovers and scoring chances and just looked overmatched. Braden Holtby also looked shaky allowing three goals on just eight shots. Usually he is able to cover up some of the mistakes the defense makes it front of him, but he was not there to bail the team out on Tuesday in what was a really rocky start.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS FROM CAPS-LIGHTNING

Taking a penalty 34 seconds into the game

Entering Tuesday’s game, Tampa Bay boasted the second best power play unit in the league. Playing a disciplined game is part of every game plan, but that is especially true against such a dominant unit. Giving up a penalty just 34 seconds into the game was not an ideal start. The call itself was debatable. Brett Connolly was called for interference when he knocked over Dan Girardi in the offensive zone. The puck was just behind Girardi as he had lost control of it in his skates. The sticking point here is that Girardi no longer had possession and Connolly could have played the puck instead of the player. Most referees would probably let that go with the puck so close, but Connolly was not so lucky. Whether it was a good call or not, the Caps found themselves down a man and down a goal soon after as Brayden Point scored the power play tally.

A missed opportunity from Kuznetsov on one end, a goal for Nikita Kucherov on the other

Even after spotting the Lightning a 3-0 lead, the Caps made a game of it. Lars Eller struck on the power play in the second period and Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington to within one with about nine minutes left to play. Just over a minute later, Evgeny Kuznetsov stole the puck away from Nikita Kucherov, the frontrunner for league MVP this season, at the Tampa blue line giving the Caps a short 2-on-1. Defenseman Andrej Sustr was textbook on the play forcing Kuznetsov as far wide as he could go while still covering the passing lane and Kuznetsov elected to shoot from the faceoff dot rather than attempt the pass to T.J. Oshie.Andrei Vasilevskiy made a routine blocker save to deny what looked like a great opportunity to tie the game. As always happens in hockey, a failed opportunity on one end led to an opportunity in the other direction. Less than a minute later, Kucherov made up for his mistake by scoring a breakaway goal to put the game out of reach at 4-2.

MORE CAPITALS: KEMPNY EXCITED TO MOVE FROM LAST PLACE CHICAGO TO FIRST PLACE WASHINGTON

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3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

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3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

The first 20 minutes of Tuesday's game did not go well for Washington. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three times in the opening frame and rode that lead all the way to the 4-2 win.

With the game heading towards a repeat of their blowout loss to Chicago, the Capitals rebounded in the second period to make a game of it as Lars Eller scored on a power play. Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington within one in the third period, but Nikita Kucherov slammed the door shut with a breakaway goal to extend the lead back to 2.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Brayden Point: Tampa Bay won this game in the first period when they took a 3-0 lead. Point scored two of those three goals. His first came at the 2:30 mark of the game. He retreated to the blue line on the power play believing Jay Beagle would clear the puck. When Beagle turned the puck over, he recognized it and immediately crashed the net, taking a Ryan Callahan pass in the slot and shooting it through the five-hole of Braden Holtby. On his second goal, Anton Stralman saw an opportunity on the Caps’ line change and passed the puck up to Point at the blue line. Point turned on the jets to get behind the defense and went five-hole again on Holtby to make the score 3-0.

2. Alex Ovechkin: After the first period, Washington slowly took this game over for much of the remaining 40 minutes. Ovechkin was a big part of that as he totaled an incredible 19 shot attempts for the game. Nine of those shots were on goal and he found the back of the net in the third period for career goal No. 594.

3. Tom Wilson: Through the first period, the Caps looked well on their way to a repeat of the 7-1 debacle they suffered Saturday in Chicago. They had nothing going in this game until Wilson drew a trip from Vladislav Namestnikov in the second period. Eller would score on the resulting power play giving Washington some much-needed life. The Namestnikov penalty was the 29th drawn penalty of the season for Wilson, which moves him into a tie with Matthew Tkachuk for the most drawn penalties in the NHL.