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A night of upsets and Irish, Tide rise in football

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A night of upsets and Irish, Tide rise in football

Coming into Saturday, Oregon and Kansas State had the inside track to college football's national championship and the Southeastern Conference's run of six straight BCS titles was in jeopardy.

Then No. 2 K-State got thumped 52-24 by unranked Baylor and top-ranked Oregon fell in overtime to No. 14 Stanford, 17-14.

Now the SEC is alive and well.

And how's this for a possible national title game: Alabama vs. Notre Dame.

A week after Alabama lost to Texas A&M, more upsets re-opened door for the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide, which shut out lower-division Western Carolina 49-0 on Saturday.

Georgia has a title shot, too. And so does Florida.

But the happiest of all about the Ducks and Wildcats going down had to be Notre Dame and its fans.

The Fighting Irish were third in the BCS standings and the AP Top 25, behind K-State and Oregon entering the weekend. Notre Dame was staring at what must have felt unthinkable for the storied program: Finishing unbeaten and not even getting a chance to play for the BCS championship.

The Irish took care of running their record to 11-0 with a 38-0 shutout at home against Wake Forest.

Then everything fell into place.

Oregon (10-1), the highest scoring team in the country at 55 points per games, couldn't shake free of Stanford's tough defense. The Cardinal tied it late on a juggling TD catch that was called incomplete on the field and overturned to a catch by replay.

In OT, Oregon missed a field goal and Stanford made one. The Ducks were done.

``It hurts and as I told them, you'd like to have some words that would take the pain out of it, but there aren't,'' Ducks coach Chip Kelly said. ``We'll feel bad for a little bit of time and we'll bounce back from it.''

Kansas State's first loss of the season was far more decisive. Collin Klein and the Wildcats (10-1) lost 52-24 at Baylor, and there went Kansas State's BCS title hopes and Klein's status as Heisman Trophy front-runner. He was picked off three times.

It was the first time since Dec. 1, 2007, that the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the AP Top 25 lost on the same day. That year, Missouri and West Virginia were the upset victims, giving Ohio State and LSU a chance to play for the national title. The Tigers won the second of the SEC's six straight.

When the latest BCS standings and AP rankings come out Sunday Notre Dame almost certainly will be No. 1.

Alabama, fourth in the BCS last week, will most likely be in second place this week, followed by SEC rivals Georgia and Florida.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly won't need to go on television with Oprah Winfrey, as he said he would earlier this week, to plead his team's case for playing in the BCS title game. Just beat rival Southern California next week at the Los Angeles Coliseum and book the plane tickets to Miami, where the BCS national title game will be played Jan. 7.

USC, the preseason No. 1 team, lost again on Saturday, 38-28 to UCLA, to fall to 7-4. And Trojans star quarterback Matt Barkley was knocked out of Saturday's game by a hard hit. No word yet on whether he'll play next week, but if he doesn't Notre Dame's path gets even smoother.

As for the SEC, it's pretty simple.

Alabama (10-1) and Georgia (10-1) have already sealed up spots in the conference title game on Dec. 1, but both have games still to play.

The Tide plays hapless rival Auburn next week. The Bulldogs face Georgia Tech. If they both win, the SEC title game again becomes a de facto national semifinal, with the winner likely advancing to Miami, trying to extend win the league's seventh straight national crown.

Sprinkle in a Georgia Tech win and the Bulldogs beating Alabama in the SEC title game, and No. 7 Florida (10-1) could be the SEC's representative, though the Gators have to play at No. 10 Florida State (10-1).

The Seminoles aren't out of the race yet either, especially if USC shocks Notre Dame. Though if that happens, just about any team with only one loss will be making claim to be in the big game, even Oregon and Kansas State if they can win their conferences.

Or consider this.

USC beats Notre Dame, Florida beats Florida State, and either Georgia or Alabama finishes 12-1. Add it up and it could be an all-SEC championship game for the second straight year.

Or there could be split national championship. Undefeated Ohio State is No. 6 in the AP Top 25 but ineligible to win the BCS title because it is NCAA-banned from playing in a bowl game.

If all the other contenders falter, Ohio State could be the lone unbeaten left standing and lay claim to the AP title.

Sounds crazy, but after Saturday night, nothing seems far-fetched.

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AP Sports Writer Anne M. Peterson in Eugene, Ore., contributed.

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Follow AP Sports Writer Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphdrussoap

Summer Guide: The top pizza places in and around Washington, D.C.

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NBC Sports Washington

Summer Guide: The top pizza places in and around Washington, D.C.

Last summer, NBC Sports Washington put together guides that highlighted the best bars and restaurants to watch the Capitals' Stanley Cup run and the FIFA World Cup. Earlier this summer we provided some spots around Nationals Park and Camden Yards too. 

With summer 2019 halfway over, now is the time to highlight some go-to spots for pizza in and around the district.

Here are, in no particular order, some of the top pizzerias in and around Washington, D.C.

Etto, 1541 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20005

  • Logan Circle
  • With veggies specials and pizza alike, the leisurely atmosphere at Etto provides a needed respite from the hustle of D.C.
  • Check out the roasted cauliflower pizza, or the seasonal zucchini and squash blossoms pie, two non-traditional menu options

 

Wiseguy Pizza, 300 Massachusetts Ave NW, Ste 1, Washington, DC 20001

  • Near the Judiciary Square Metro stop.
  • Wiseguy owner Tony Erol perfected a New York-style pizza without making it chock-full of grease, ensuring a crispy slice. 
  • Between the expected Buffalo chicken pizza and the unexpected paneer tikka pie, Wiseguy's menu appeals to many palates. 

 

Menomale Pizza Napoletana, 2711 12th St. NE, Washington, DC 20018

  • Between the Rhode Island Ave and Brookland Metro stops.
  • Neapolitan pizzas are Menomale's specialty, but with stellar crust the pizzeria also produces delicious calzones and sandwiches.
  • Take a look at the menu, which houses all the tasty carb-loaded food, plus a surprising range of craft beers. 

 

2 Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria, 3715 Macomb St. NW, Washington DC 20016

  • Near Washington National Cathedral
  • 2 Amys' wood-fired pizzas and family-friendly setting combine for an authentic atmosphere.
  • The menu offers some less-known pies, like the Etna 2.0, which in part features fried eggplant. 

 

All-Purpose Riverfront, 79 Potomac Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003

  • Navy Yard, across from Nationals Park
  • With All-Purpose, chef Mike Friedman revamps classic Italian-American flavors, like his garlic knots coated with a fonduta reminiscent of alfredo. 
  • Head to happy hour on weekdays from 4-7 p.m. for drink and food specials, like the Little Caesar or the Crispy Chicken Wings. 

 

Ghibellina, 1610 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009

  • Logan Circle
  • Does $10 pizza happy hour sound appealing? Then head to Ghibellina from 3-6:30 p.m. (or 4-6:30 pm. Monday's).
  • Between pizzas, specialty cocktails and other Italian cuisine, the restaurant and its authentic atmosphere is sure to please. 

 

OUTSIDE OF D.C.

Pupatella, 5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22205

  • On the outskirts of Downtown Arlington
  • After growing from a food cart in Ballston, Virginia, Pupatella has grown to a reputable source for classic pizza pies. 
  • Check out the red or white pies, which include the Mimosa and Buffala Bianza pizzas. 

 

Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana, 12207 Darnestown Rd., Gaithersburg, MD 20878

  • Out past Rockville, Maryland
  • While a bit of a trek from inside the district, the variety of pizzas including the Smoky Meatball is sure to make the trip worthwhile. 

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This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

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Isaiah Thomas Instagram

This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

One of the best parts of the NBA offseason, behind free-agency and the draft, has to be the open run's that go on all summer long. These sessions give an opportunity for NBA players to team up with each other, while also playing alongside high school, college, and overseas talent. 

Some new Wizards teammates, Isaiah Thomas and Thomas Bryant, made their way to the Rico Hines private run in Los Angeles, California to establish some chemistry before training camp opens in late September.  

As seen above, IT is no stranger to sharing the sugar as he finished top 20 in the league in assists per game (5.9) in 2016, the last season he was fully healthy. While TB is one of the most efficient rim-runners in the league, leading the NBA in two-point field goal percentage (68.5) last season. 

Could this be a preview of what to expect come season's tip? Wizards fans sure hope so. 

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