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No. 13 Florida St.-Georgia Tech meet for ACC title

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No. 13 Florida St.-Georgia Tech meet for ACC title

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Florida State has no option but to stop the option - if the Seminoles want to win their 13th ACC title.

Jimbo Fisher said Friday the key to the Seminoles winning another Atlantic Coast Conference championship and clinching an automatic bid to the Orange Bowl is shutting down Georgia Tech's triple option offense.

The 13th-ranked Seminoles (10-2, 7-1 ACC) are two-touchdown favorites over unranked Georgia Tech in Saturday night's matchup. Still, Fisher knows defending the Yellow Jackets' deceiving offense can be a monumental task if you're not properly prepared.

The Yellow Jackets (6-6, 5-3) averaged 40 points per game during ACC play and their running game ranks third-best in the nation, averaging 323.3 yards per game.

Fisher said his staff has devised a good game plan to stop it.

But he's quick to point out it's difficult to simulate the speed of Georgia Tech's offense because it's so unorthodox.

``It's hard to simulate,'' Fisher said during a press conference Friday in Charlotte. ``It's one thing to do it in practice when you have your assignments, but we have to get used to the speed of it and how well they execute it. So it will be a huge challenge for us, no doubt.''

Whatever happens, both teams could be heading for a bowl game.

The NCAA on Thursday granted Georgia Tech a waiver to ensure it would be bowl eligible even it loses and drops to 6-7 on the season.

The Yellow Jackets hope they don't need the waiver. Whether they do or not, could depend on the Seminoles' defense.

Florida State ranks fourth in the nation against the run, allowing just 85.08 yards per game and a mere 2.7 yards per carry.

But the Seminoles' task could be a little more difficult without defensive end Tank Carradine, their leading tackler, who'll miss the final two games of the season with a torn knee ligament. He led Florida State with 80 tackles and was second on the team with 11 sacks.

Even without Carradine, Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson said Florida State has the best defensive line his team has faced this season. They are led by Bjoern Warner, the ACC defensive player of the year.

``They're huge, and they've got a lot of them,'' Johnson said of Florida State's defensive line rotation. ``So they roll them and they play a lot of guys. It's going to be a huge challenge. ... Georgia is awfully good at linebacker and safety, and so is Florida State, but Florida State is really good on the defensive front.''

Georgia Tech's leading rusher Orwin Smith did not play last week and Johnson said he's doubtful for Saturday night, which could put more pressure on quarterback Tevin Washington. Washington has only thrown for seven touchdowns this season, but he leads the Yellow Jackets with 18 rushing TDs.

Florida State and Georgia Tech have spent the week trying to forget about last Saturday.

Both teams suffered losses to in-state rivals.

Florida State's loss was particularly painful as the let a fourth quarter lead slip away and lost to in-state rival and fourth-ranked Florida 37-26. But Fisher believes his team has bounced back with a good week of practice.

``I think it hurt them, but I think they're ready to flush it because they understand what they have to accomplish and that's win a conference championship and still have a phenomenal year,'' Fisher said. ``I look forward to them doing that. I expect them to do it.''

Georgia Tech was blown out by No. 3 Georgia 42-10 Saturday.

The Yellow Jackets' defense has had its problems all season and Johnson said he's concerned about his special teams, which has given up a number of big plays.

He said that has forced his offense to ``outscore our opponents.''

Florida State comes in with some high-powered weapons, including quarterback EJ Manuel, the third-most accurate passer in ACC history.

Fisher said Manuel is the team's unquestioned leader and the sets the standard for his team.

When he got hit in the jaw and fumbled last Saturday against Florida and briefly causing him to leave the game, Florida State's momentum slipped away - and so did their tenuous fourth quarter lead.

``You take the mentality of your quarterback,'' Fisher said. ``Other positions are great, but when that quarterback is tough and he's a competitor and he represents the right thing it sets the tone across the board. You can influence the other guys. And to me that's what a great player does. His effect on the other players, as people, students and as athletes is as much as I've been around. And to me that makes him a great player.''

Johnson compares Manuel to Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd.

``He can hurt you not only throwing the ball, but he's athletic, can pull it down and run with it, and he gives them a lot of flexibility to do a lot of things,'' Johnson said.

For Manuel, this game is about some personal redemption after turning it over four times in the loss to the Gators last Saturday.

Manuel said he spent Sunday hanging out with his parents on campus and they helped cheer him up and get him focused for challenge ahead.

``You don't want to lose to your in-state rival,'' Manuel said. ``It's tough, but we understand that we have a huge game, basically an even bigger game this week coming up versus Georgia Tech being our conference championship. We have to be ready. We can't allow that game to linger on.''

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Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

In what is perhaps the most unexpected Stanley Cup Final pairing in recent memory, the Washington Capitals and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are going to make history this year.

Either it is going to be the first expansion team to win a title in their first season, or it will be a team looking to end a 27-year title drought for one of the biggest cities in the United States.

But what it will not be is the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup.

Going even farther back than the Capitals last Stanley Cup appearance (1998), the Georgetown Hoyas and UNLV Rebels met in the 1991 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Sin City took the first, and up until now, the only postseason bout between these two cities. The Larry Johnson-led University of Las Vegas squad powered right past the Hoyas in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.

[D.C. sports and Second Rounds, I know right?]

Coming fresh off the NCAA title in 1990, UNLV waltzed right to the Final Four before meeting their demise against Duke. It also ended up being the last game for Dikembe Mutombo in a Georgetown uniform.

While in all likely-hood this will not be the final game/ series for Alex Ovechkin rocking the red, it may be his last and only chance for him to play this far into a postseason.

In the past two seasons, Vegas has gone from zero professional teams to having a Stanley Cup contender, a WNBA franchise, and lined up to take over the Oakland Raiders in 2020. 

Now time for the Golden Knights' Cinderella story to come up a little bit short. 

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Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

On Thursday the NBA revealed the All-NBA teams for the 2017-18 season.

Not surprisingly, Bradley Beal and John Wall did not make it to one of the three five-player teams. Of the two superstars, only Wall has been recognized once in his career.

What is surprising is that neither Beal nor Wall received a single vote in the whole process, especially Beal.

The 2017-18 season was without question the best in Beal’s career. He played in all 82 games, coming right off of the heals of his All-Star recognition. Beal seems to agree in his snubbing, tweeting this minutes after the teams were announced:

Looking at the list of players who made the top three teams, it shouldn’t be an issue, but these three guys got more votes than the Wizards' duo combined: Steven Adams, Trevor Ariza, and Dwight Howard. It is not surprising that Beal and Wall did not make an All-NBA team. It is odd that Beal didn’t receive a vote.

Here is a list of the full All-NBA Teams:

ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM: 

LeBron James (Cavaliers), James Harden (Rockets), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), Kevin Durant (Warriors)

ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM:

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Joel Embiid (76ers), LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs), DeMar DeRozan (Raptors)

ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM:

Stephen Curry (Warriors), Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves), Paul George (Thunder)

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