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Wouldn't be 1st time BC plays Notre Dame spoiler

Wouldn't be 1st time BC plays Notre Dame spoiler

BOSTON (AP) There's plenty of football history to talk about at Notre Dame, an eight-time Associated Press national champion that is once again undefeated and trying to peek its way into the NCAA title discussion.

One subject they try to stay away from: The rivalry with Boston College.

The only other Catholic school playing in the FBS, Boston College has twice spoiled Notre Dame's unbeaten seasons and eliminated it from the national championship chase. Now, the Fighting Irish (9-0) are heading to Chestnut Hill and hoping to avoid another upset that would destroy their very outside chance at an NCAA title.

``I'm starting to hear about it,'' nose guard Louis Nix III said this week as the Fighting Irish prepared for the game known locally as ``The Holy War.'' ``A lot of people saying, `Blah, blah, blah. BC is going to come in,' and we might lose. I guess because 20 years ago they beat us when we were undefeated, which I don't see what that has to do with now.''

Notre Dame has finished first eight times since the AP poll began ranking teams in 1936. This year, the Irish are No. 4 heading into Saturday night's game, and they would likely need two of the other unbeaten teams - Alabama, Oregon and Kansas State - to lose in order to claim a spot in the BCS title game.

Of course, the Irish would also need to win out, and that starts with a victory against a Boston College (2-7) team that is having its worst season in more than two decades. But the Eagles have always posed problems for their Catholic rivals, beating them six straight times from 2001-08.

That streak included a 2002 win over a fourth-ranked and unbeaten Notre Dame team. In 1993, 17th-ranked BC beat the No. 1 Irish 41-39 on a field goal as time expired.

``I didn't know that,'' Kelly joked with reporters this week. ``But I do now, and I'll put that in the history bank of more information that I have that I won't use.''

One Notre Dame player who is already familiar with the history is center Braxston Cave, who grew up as a Notre Dame fan in nearby Mishawaka, Ind., and is named after former Notre Dame fullback Braxston Banks. He said that when Boston College ended Notre Dame's 8-0 start in 2002 he was so angry he threw something through a window.

``I remember watching it as a kid, the upset,'' he said. ``But it's a new team, new players, and we're going out there and get things done.''

Banks doesn't hear much about it these days, except when fans bring it up on Twitter or when he hears the comments from people in Boston.

``There's a lot of name-calling that goes back with Notre Dame and Boston College,'' he said. ``(It's) mostly among fans. But a lot of guys, especially BC, look forward to playing Notre Dame because we're just one of those teams on their schedule. But just like every team, we know they're going to get up for this game.''

Kelly has said he doesn't talk to his team about the history between the two teams, in part because he expects every team to relish the chance to beat Notre Dame.

And that's what he's seen so far this season.

The Irish beat Brigham Young 17-14 on Oct. 20 after Riley Nelson missed a wide-open receiver on what would have been the go-ahead touchdown. A week earlier, Notre Dame stopped Stanford on four goal-line stands in overtime to win 20-13 - even though the Cardinal appeared to have scored on fourth down, and perhaps third down as well.

The Irish beat Purdue with a last-minute field goal and topped Michigan by a touchdown. And, last week, they needed three overtimes - surviving one of them thanks to a missed 33-yard field goal - to beat Pittsburgh.

``Everybody is going to give you their best shot,'' linebacker Manti Te'o said. ``Because now you're not only Notre Dame, but you're Notre Dame with a 9-0 record. So you're going to get everybody's best shot and you have to prepare for it. I don't think we're used to it being 9-0. But we're learning. Last week was a great learning experience for us.''

As expected, the rivalry is getting plenty of attention in Chestnut Hill, where not much has gone right so far. The Eagles are already ineligible for a bowl game for the second straight season, but a win over Notre Dame would go a long way toward making up for that.

``This game could potentially salvage the season,'' BC linebacker Nick Clancy said. ``I'll never, ever forget that moment if we could knock them off. The question going around is, `Why not us? If they can do it in 1993, why can't we do it in 2012?

``This is a one-game season, is what we're looking at. This is it, man.''

The Irish have won the last three meetings between the teams after losing the previous six. Clancy, a Chicago-area native who was looked at but not heavily recruited by Notre Dame, called playing the Irish ``the next best thing'' to playing in a bowl.

Offensive lineman Emmett Cleary took that a step further.

``I would rather knock Notre Dame out of the national championship than go to the Toilet Bowl,'' said Cleary, another Chicagoan. ``People forget that we played them straight up at their place last year. So nobody's looking at this as some monumental upset. We're looking at this as a football team that we can beat.''

Last year, the Irish needed to sweat out an onside kick in the final minutes to hold on for a 16-14 victory.

Kelly doesn't need a history lesson to know that.

``Boston College (is) a team that has played us very, very well,'' he said. ``This past year obviously at home we had to make some big stops late to win the football game.''

But when a fan asked during his radio program whether she needed to have her pacemaker recharged, Kelly told her not to worry.

``I think we're going to take care of all the hearts this weekend,'' he said. ``If we get off to the kind of start we should and put some points on the board, I hope we can save everybody.''

---

AP Sports Writer Tom Coyne contributed to this story from South Bend, Ind.

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Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

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Associated Press

Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

Bradley Beal may have had a slow start in the three-point contest on Saturday night, but in Sunday's All-Star Game he worked quickly to make the most of his relatively small window of playing time.

Beal checked in for the first time with 5:45 left in the first quarter and less than 25 seconds later had his first points on a two-handed dunk assisted by LeBron James.

In his All-Star debut, Beal helped lead Team LeBron to a 148-145 victory over Team Stephen as the league utilizied a new format for the annual showcase.

RELATED: BEAL BOUNCED EARLY IN THREE-POINT CONTEST

Beal finished with 14 points and a steal in a productive night. He shot 5-for-10 from the field and an impressive 4-for-8 from long range. 

Beal also tried to get a travelling call from the refs on Karl-Anthony Towns. Yeah, that's not likely to happen in an All-Star Game:

Beal more than held his own and only played 16 minutes, which was good considering he has logged the fifth-most minutes of any player so far this season. A realistic best-case scenario was a strong showing and a short night and that's exactly what he got.

Not only does Beal play a lot of minutes, the Wizards need him now more than ever with John Wall's injury. He needs whatever rest he can get during this All-Star break.

Speaking of Wall, he was in the house despite being in the middle of his rehab from left knee surgery. Per usual, Wall was shining bright:

RELATED: BEST WIZARDS/BULLETS MOMENTS ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

The All-Star Game wasn't all about Beal, of course. Here are some other things that stood out...

*The new format and increased financial incentive were intended to make the game more competitive and that's what happened late in the fourth quarter. Usually, that's how these things go where the players will start trying at the end. But this time it seemed to be up a few levels and it was fun to watch. 

Both teams scored in the 140s, so it wasn't exactly a defensive battle. No matter what the league does, the players will only try so hard for so long. The main goal of everyone's is to not get injured in a game that ultimately doesn't count for anything. Still, this was different and appears to have been a success.

*While everyone was focusing on the reunion of LeBron and Kyrie Irving the best beef was Joel Embiid vs. Russell Westbrook. Those two have traded waves to taunt each other at the end of wins in head-to-head matchups and it was clear on Sunday they still don't like each other. Westbrook tried to dunk all over Embiid in the first half, only to get blocked at the rim.

Westbrook's determination to dunk on Embiid was out of the ordinary for an All-Star Game. It was obvious what was on his mind:

*Irving's handles are simply ridiculous. Check out this fake behind-the-back move he pulled with Giannis Antetkounmpo guarding him. Yes, it didn't fool the defender but it was impressive nonetheless:

*LeBron is 33 years old, yet he was still running up and down the court faster than anyone and leaping above the rim to thrown down alley-oop after alley-oop. It is truly amazing and everyone should enjoy watching him while they can, regardless of whether they like the guy or not.

This was one of his dunks:

LeBron took home MVP with a game-high 29 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal.

*The pregame show was quite bad. It was anchored by comedians Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle and, though they had some funny jokes, it lasted nearly 30 minutes. The whole thing was pretty much universally panned on social media. Fergie's national anthem was also roasted by the masses.

*The halftime show was much better. It began with N.E.R.D taking it back to their older days with 'Lapdance,' went to Migos performing 'Stir Fry' and swung back to N.E.R.D. who did their latest hit 'Lemon.' 

RELATED: LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

Whoever put together the NBA All-Star Game player introductions has some 'splainin to do. 

The NBA introduced a kinda-full Staples Center to their 2018 All-Stars about an hour ago, and boy was it weird. There were a lot of dancers in different themed costumes. Kevin Hart was screaming. Rob Riggle was screaming. Ludacris showed up? Hey! Did you know that the Barenaked Ladies are still a band? The NBA would like you to know they're still around.  The whole thing was like when you're at an art museum and you're told that abstract piece in the corner is actually really meaningful but you gotta be honest, you don't get it. 

Anyways, the internet hated it. Here are some highlights from the internet hating it:

The lesson here is that you never need Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle. One will do.