Nationals

K-State moving up, so close to 1st BCS title shot

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K-State moving up, so close to 1st BCS title shot

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Kansas State is so close. With two more wins, the Wildcats almost certainly will be headed to Miami for the BCS championship game and a shot at their first national title.

So imagine the excitement and euphoria for the Wildcats following their victory at TCU, which came after defending national champion Alabama lost at home.

``It's good for us,'' receiver Tramaine Thompson said matter-of-factly after the Wildcats won 23-10 on Saturday night. ``We're doing something that's special and doesn't come around a lot in any program. We're just taking it in and we're just moving forward.''

OK, so coach Bill Snyder's message clearly permeates through this team. Don't worry about what any other team does, or what can happen in two months. Focus instead on what's immediately ahead.

``I am just going to ask my guys as I always do to try to get better at practice on Monday,'' Snyder said.

The Wildcats (10-0, 7-0 Big 12) will go to practice Monday as the No. 1 team in the BCS rankings that determine who plays for the national championship.

They replaced Alabama at the top when the new Bowl Championship Series standings were released Sunday night. They moved up one spot, staying ahead of No. 2 Oregon.

Kansas State also moved up a spot in the new AP Top 25 earlier Sunday, going from third to second. Oregon, which was already ahead of the Wildcats in the AP poll, was the new No. 1 there.

Alabama slipped three spots to fourth in both rankings.

``We don't pay too much (attention) to the rankings,'' defensive back Jarard Milo said. ``Coach Snyder does a good job of stressing that's not something we control. We control our family and we control what we do out there on the field in practice.''

Kansas State plays next Saturday night at Baylor, where the Wildcats have lost their last two trips but now could clinch at least a share of its first Big 12 title since 2003. They get Thanksgiving week off before ending the regular season at home Dec. 1 against 18th-ranked Texas.

The last time the Wildcats were this close to a possible national championship was 1998, when they went 11-0 in the regular season before being upset by Texas A&M in the Big 12 championship game. The league no longer has a title game.

Maybe the Aggies have finally provided some payback, and helped their old league.

Texas A&M, now in the SEC, won 29-24 Saturday at Alabama. That game ended only minutes after K-State kicked off at TCU (6-4, 3-4).

Snyder insisted he didn't know about the Crimson Tide's loss until being told after his team was done.

But TCU coach Gary Patterson, a Kansas State alumnus who started his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Wildcats' first bowl team three decades ago, knew Alabama was losing before his team took the field.

``I was like, just what we needed, Kansas State to have another reason to come out fired up,'' Patterson said.

Heisman Trophy hopeful Collin Klein, back in the lineup a week after coming out early against Oklahoma State because of an apparent concussion, threw only his third interception of the season on the first drive of the game.

But Klein went on to run for two touchdowns and the Wildcats built a 23-0 lead against the Horned Frogs, a team full of freshmen and sophomores for the school's first Big 12 season and already bowl eligible.

``I'm not disappointed in our kids at all. We thought we could win this ballgame,'' Patterson said. ``That's where we are right now, just a little bit short against teams like that.''

Kansas State had two turnovers after giving the ball away only once the previous six games, and scored its fewest points this season. Plus, the admittedly conservative Wildcats were outgained by TCU, 274 to 260.

That gives Snyder plenty of focal points going into a new week.

``He tells us every day to just focus on getting better,'' linebacker Jarell Childs said. ``Obviously after this game, we have a lot of mistakes to correct and get better, so we go focus on that.''

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach… and if that leads us to Bryce Harper’s potential landing spot, then I present to you the yummiest reasons he should stay with the Washington Nationals.

In a video from TMZ, a paparazzi follows Harper to baggage claim and implores him for any hints toward where he is signing this offseason. The only true answer he got was that Harper likes a place called Steak 48 in Chicago. This surf-and-turf hot spot in the River North neighborhood of downtown Chicago has the audacity to serve “Maryland STYLE lump crab cakes.” Really, Bryce? Will the real thing convince you?!

On that note, let’s start off with the seafood we have to offer. This is the Mid-Atlantic, after all.

How can you work here April-September without eating local crabs in some form? I think that’s impossible. You can choose from hard shell or soft shell, but no shame in either game.

Live Chesapeake blue crabs can be bought at Captain White’s Seafood and other vendors on The Wharf off Maine Avenue. Otherwise, you can sit down and have them steamed for you at Quarterdeck, Ivy City Smokehouse, Bethesda Crab House or Captain Pell’s.

If Harper is more of a soft shell guy, all of those places also serve out-of-the-park crab cakes, but you can’t go wrong with Hank’s Oyster Bar, Old Ebbitt Grill, Chris’ Marketplace, or Clyde’s.

If the star really wants to dive in to local taste, he should eat Chesapeake Bay oysters from the largest estuary in America. My personal favorite selection is at Whaley’s (seafood tower on me, Bryce), but Rapphanock Oyster Bar, The Dabney, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black’s Bar & Kitchen can’t be beat.

I find it hard to believe the team hasn't had an outing at The Salt Line, the lively seafood spot just a short throw from Nats Park where teammate Ryan Zimmerman is an investor and co-owner.

Now that we’ve satisfied Harper’s iron intake, let’s break down his protein. In order to keep the superstar here, I want to make sure he knows that D.C. cares about providing a well-rounded diet.

Barbecued meats in general around here are delectable. Sitting in juxtaposition between the north and south, D.C. restaurants bring a mash-up of styles of smoked and sauced meats. Favorites are Federalist Pig, Hill Country, Fat Pete’s and Hardy’s BBQ truck.

However, if Bryce Harper show he’s as invested in authentic Nationals fans as our season tickets are in him, he should really pick up a half-smoke, the district’s original recipe for a spicy, thicker pork and beef dog that’s aggressively seasoned and sometimes served with chili sauce.

Could you imagine Harper making his announcement to stay over a half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl? I think even the panda statue would cry tears of joy.

Another hyper-local taste is mumbo sauce. While proven not originally from here, D.C. natives are enthusiastic about the special sauce. Yum’s is pretty well-known for carrying it.

Time for dessert! I think we can all agree that in the past 10 years, cupcakes have become iconic in the district with Georgetown Cupcakes, Baked & Wired and Sprinkles all having a home in Georgetown. To settle the debate, Baked & Wired is best. They are ranked #1 on Yelp if you don’t believe my own palette.

But what if it’s game night, you ask? D.C. has it’s hearty share of restaurants that are open even after extra innings. The Diner, Kramerbooks, Mandu, New Big Wong, Old Ebbitt Grill, Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, Amsterdam Falafelshop and Jumbo Slice are all here to keep you warm at night no matter what you’re craving post-victory. Need I go on?

Bryce reassured Nats fans and TMZ that he is “still a National right now.” Better eat these while you can, Bryce, or you’ll be sorry you didn't sign in one of the best food cities in the MLB.

Do you have any local food or restaurants you think will convince Bryce Harper to stay with the Washington Nationals this offseason? Send them to @NBCNationals or @rmhopmayer. Maybe we can throw together a friends-giving or holiday dinner for those that want him to stay our beloved Guest of Honor.

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Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman caused quite a stir with his comments Sunday about the atmosphere at FedEx Field, and the Redskins cornerback made it clear he plans to do his part in making sure the stadium is packed for Sunday's game against the Texans. 

Norman told reporters Thursday he's going to be giving away "40 or 50" free tickets for the Houston game, online and perhaps even in person.

"Yes, I will be giving out free tickets," he said. "I'll be doing it on my socials as well, I think I'll probably post tonight or something about it."

"Who knows, you may see me coming out and being an early Santa somewhere in the mall or something, just handing out tickets."

And if you are one of the lucky fans who gets a ticket from "Santa Norman," he has specific instructions on how you should behave at Sunday's game:

"Whoever get(s) them, we want them loud and just obnoxious. Just really obnoxious."

Norman joins several Redskins players who have promised to give away tickets to the Texans game.

It may be November, but the Christmas spirit is alive and well at Redskins Park. 

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