SEC expansion gives conference new look


SEC expansion gives conference new look

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) The Southeastern Conference's first expansion since 1991 has added not only new travel and experiences for newcomers Texas A&M and Missouri, but also the rest of the league.

The new look of the SEC isn't limited to the changes in its geography, though, as the Aggies have remained one of the top offenses in the country, shaking up things in a league long known for defense.

The Aggies are third in the nation in scoring (45.5 ppg) and tied for fifth in total offense (542.88 ypg). It's nothing new for first-year Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, whose Houston team topped the country in scoring and total offense last season.

Despite that success in Conference USA, many doubted he could replicate it in a league where five teams finished in the top 10 nationally in defense last season.

Sumlin was matter-of-fact when asked if he ever questioned whether his offense could succeed in the SEC.

``If we didn't think it could work, we wouldn't run it,'' he said.

Still, he understands why people were reticent to believe this offense could put up huge numbers against much tougher competition. Especially in a conference where no team has finished in the top 5 nationally in scoring since Florida was fourth in 2008, or total offense since the Gators finished second in 2000.

``People have the right,'' Sumlin said. ``We're the new guys in the league so I don't see that as derogatory or anything like that. You're always going to be skeptical of anything that's new or that you don't know about.''

Auburn coach Gene Chizik saw just how powerful A&M's offense could be on Saturday in a 63-21 A&M win. Texas A&M had 34 first downs, 671 yards and scored touchdowns on seven of eight possessions with quarterback Johnny Manziel before he was replaced after the first possession of the third quarter.

``I think that his is a different type of offense,'' Chizik said. ``They are spread, no-huddle offenses that are obviously difficult to defend. Some are very different than others. This one is very unique.''

Mississippi State defensive coordinator Chris Wilson, who worked with Sumlin at Oklahoma from 2005-07, is one person in the SEC that isn't a bit surprised by Sumlin's success at A&M. No. 17 Mississippi State hosts 16th-ranked A&M on Saturday.

``Kevin is a guy who knows what he wants to do. He's got a great plan,'' Wilson said. ``The biggest thing is he's a good communicator - communicating with his coaches, with the administration and with the players. That makes a good teacher. And when you can deliver your message and do it with accurate information, it definitely speeds up the process. He does that as well as anybody.''

Sumlin believes some of Texas A&M's success comes from his team having a chip on its shoulder because of those who expected the Aggies to fail in their move from the Big 12 to the SEC.

``We do have something to prove,'' he said. ``I've said that from the beginning, we're in the best league in the country for football and as new guys to the league we've got to prove ourselves. I think our guys understand that, I think as coaches we understand it.''

The Aggies have enjoyed the travel that has come with the move as well. They've switched in-state trips to places like Austin, Lubbock and Waco for jaunts to Oxford, Miss. and Auburn, Ala. They'll travel to Starkville, Miss. this week before next Saturday's visit to Tuscaloosa, Ala.

``Every one of these games is new to these guys and I think last week was a prime example of being excited to play,'' Sumlin said. ``We're going places we've never been and guys are excited to go there.''

Georgia coach Mark Richt has also enjoyed the change in scenery that came with adding the new teams this season.

``In life, change is good sometimes,'' he said. ``You start doing the same thing over and over again, and sometimes that can be tiresome.''

Second-year Vanderbilt coach James Franklin's team picked up its only road win this season on its first trip to Missouri on Oct. 6. Still, he's more worried about his team than how Missouri and A&M have changed the SEC.

``I think it's great for the league,'' Franklin said of the expansion. ``It's something new, exciting and different. I haven't been in the league long enough to have a great perspective. The venue I'm concerned about making the best in the SEC is right here in Nashville at Vanderbilt. It's getting better every single week and we just have to keep building on that.''

The Tigers, who got their first SEC win last week against Kentucky, have a similar mindset as they prepare for a trip to No. 8 Florida on Saturday.

``It's a great experience, and we're not there for the experience, we're there to win,'' Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said. ``That's how we look at it.''


AP Sports Writers David Brandt, R.B. Fallstrom, Charles Odum, Teresa Walker and John Zenor contributed to this story.

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Capitals vs. Canucks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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Capitals vs. Canucks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Washington Capitals (3-2-2) head to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada after an overtime/shootout loss against the Florida Panthers last Friday. 

The Caps are determined to avoid the devastation they felt in the first period when they gave away four goals to the Panthers. They will need to focus in the power plays and avoid penalties at all costs.

Many fans were looking forward to the reunion with former player Jay Beagle, who is now centerman for the Canucks, but he is unfortunately out on injury. However you can look out for Caps Nic Dowd, who will have his own homecoming game against his former team. 

Here is everything you need to know about Capitals vs. Canucks which takes place at 10:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.


What: Washington Capitals vs. Vancouver Canucks, Game 8 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season

Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

When: Monday, October 22 at 10:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Capitals vs. Canucks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Washington Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals vs. Canucks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM


9:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
9:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
10:00 PM: Capitals vs. Canucks
12:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live


Lars Eller, F, Capitals: In his last game, he had a three-point night with three assists. He is a messaive help and shined within the trio of Vrana and Connoly on Friday.

Tim Schaller, F, Canucks: He was struggling in the preseason but came back with a vengeance. He assisted with a penatly kill and is a key component in fourth line. 


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Wizards vs. Trail Blazers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Wizards vs. Trail Blazers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Wizards head to the West Coast to open a road swing against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.

Wizards (0-2) are looking for their first win when the head into Portland to face Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers (2-0).

After this game, the Wizards have a tough stretch ahead of them before playing in D.C. again, playing at: Golden State, Sacramento, LA (Lakers) and Memphis.


What: Washington Wizards vs. Miami Heat, 2018 NBA regular season Game 3
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Ore.
When: 10:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Trail Blazers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Trail Blazers on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the new MyTeams App.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM


8:30 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

9:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

9:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

10:00 PM: Wizards @ Portland Trail Blazers (LIVE)


Wizards: Dwight Howard remains day-to-day with a back injury.
Trail Blazers: None


Bradley Beal, Wizards: After becoming the Wizards franchise leader in 3 points on Saturday, it is likely Beal will have a lot to prove to help the team get its first win.

Otto Porter, Jr., Wizards: Porter has had a slow start, so will he take more shots in Portland?

Damian Lillard, Portland: The Blazers' star is leading the way this season averaging 28.5 ppg and 6.5 assists per game. 


Number of all-time Meetings: 111 games
Regular Season Record: Blazers lead 57-54
Last Meeting: Wizards won 106-92 in December 2017