Notre Dame ranks No. 5 in first BCS standings

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Notre Dame ranks No. 5 in first BCS standings

The first BCS standings are out, with only four teams ranked ahead of Notre Dame. The Irish are No. 5 in the poll, with only Alabama, surprising Florida (at No. 2), Oregon and Kansas State above them.
"They watch TV, I mean, they see that. There's a sense of pride," coach Brian Kelly said earlier Sunday of how his team views the rankings. "There's no question that when you're talked about and you're putting Notre Dame up there in the top five, there's a sense of pride. I just have to make sure that they understand with that pride comes a greater obligation to do the thing the right way. I think that's how we'll handle it."
It's been six years since Notre Dame was last ranked in the first BCS standings, with the Irish slotting in at No. 8 in mid-October of 2006. That year, Notre Dame ranked as high as No. 5 and finished at No. 11 after a Sugar Bowl loss to LSU.
"We don't have a tie in from a conference standpoint," Kelly explained, "so if we're talking about the postseason, the only thing that we talk about is really the Bowl Championship Series."
In other polls, Notre Dame is No. 5 in both the latest AP and coaches rankings released Sunday morning, the program's highest ranking in either poll since September of 2006.

Ahead of the Irish in the coaches poll are Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State and Florida. The AP poll has Alabama and Oregon in the top two spots, with Florida No. 3 and K-State No. 4.

Both Oklahoma and USC moved into the top 10 of the coaches poll, with OU at No. 7 and the Trojans at No. 9. OU, fresh off a pasting of a hapless Texas defense, is at No. 10 in the AP poll, while USC is No. 11. Notre Dame faces Oklahoma in Norman on Oct. 27 and USC in Los Angeles Nov. 24.
Oklahoma is No. 9 and USC is No. 10 in the BCS standings.

The Irish could have a chance to move up with a win over BYU next week, if for no other reason than Florida plays No. 7 South Carolina and K-State travels to Morgantown to face West Virginia.

Fast Break Morning Update: Scott Darling leads Blackhawks to win over Blues

Fast Break Morning Update: Scott Darling leads Blackhawks to win over Blues

Here are the top Chicago sports stories from Sunday:

Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

What if… Cubs GM Jed Hoyer’s takeaways from epic World Series Game 7

Quick hits: Blackhawks start strong in win over Blues

Illini keep NCAA tournament hopes afloat with dominant win over Nebraska

White Sox: Happy with progress, Brett Lawrie tries to clear final hurdles

How Indians regrouped and reloaded after losing unforgettable Game 7 to Cubs

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Kurt Busch steals a monster of a win in Daytona 500

Michigan State gets big win to boost tourney hopes, while Wisconsin loses for fourth time in five games

 

 

 

Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

Scott Darling found out at 8 o'clock this morning that he was starting for an ailing Corey Crawford. Considering he did this back in December for a few weeks, adjusting quick for one game was fine.

"It's kind of my job," Darling said.

And Darling, once again, did his job.

Darling stopped 30 of 32 shots and Patrick Kane scored his 24th goal of the season as the Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Sunday night. The Blackhawks have won nine of their last 10 games. They're one point behind the Minnesota Wild, who made their splashy trade-deadline move in acquiring Martin Hanzal on Sunday. But the Blackhawks, thanks to veterans regaining their form, a top line finding its rhythm and youth consistently improving, are just rolling right along.

"We had a great start to the game. I thought Darls was excellent all night, great stretch there in the last 10 minutes where we fight through some tough shifts, particularly in the last couple of minutes in our end. But good win," coach Joel Quenneville said. "You look at the nice plays on the goals, it was kind of a comparable ending to the outdoor game: tied and about the same time they scored, we scored (tonight). Big two points for us."

Jonathan Toews scored his 16th of the season and Artem Anisimov scored the game-winning goal with 5:20 remaining in regulation. Tanner Kero added an empty-net goal with 2.6 seconds remaining in the game.

The Blackhawks already knew they'd be without Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body) for at least a day or two when they found out Crawford couldn't go this morning. As Quenneville said Darling was strong once again, denying the Blues all but twice (a 2-on-1 goal from Magnus Paajarvi and a power-play goal from Alex Pietrangelo).

Toews and Kane (power-play goal) staked the Blackhawks to a 2-0 lead early before the Blues tied it in the second. But late in the third period Anisimov took the feed from Artemi Panarin to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead.

"I saw the puck all the way. It was easy to pick up," Anisimov said. "When you don't see the puck at the last moment and it comes, it's hard to receive and prepare for the next move. But I saw it all the way. Easy to prepare for the next move."

Speaking of next moves, do the Blackhawks make any more before the trade deadline. General manager Stan Bowman said on Friday, following the acquisition of Tomas Jurco, that he'll keep talking and listening but likes the group he has right now. If Bowman's made moves it's for what the Blackhawks have needed, not because of another team's trades. The Blackhawks like what they have right now. Winning nine of 10 and continuing to trend in the right direction, they should be careful not to disrupt what they've got going.

"I think we're, as we've said lately, trending the right way. We're playing solid. I think all four lines are contributing in every which way," Toews said. "I love our group right now. Everyone is getting better individually, contributing more and more and it's a lot of fun to see the way we're playing right now. We know that the ceiling is way higher and we can keep getting better too."